The number of people affected by diabetes is increasing all the time. It’s the world’s fastest growing disease and Australia’s 6th largest cause of death. Over one million Australians have diabetes - but half of these people don’t even know it yet.

There are certain risk factors associated with diabetes. If you’re over 50, overweight, or have a family history of diabetes, you could have a higher risk of getting diabetes.

Of course you can’t control your age or family, but there are things you can control, like eating the right foods and exercising more regularly. In this booklet we’ll give you some practical ideas on how to minimise your risk factors, and take control of your diabetes if it turns out you do have it.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where the blood glucose, or blood sugar level, in the body is too high.

Glucose comes from the food you eat and gives energy to your cells. Your pancreas produces insulin which helps glucose enter your body’s cells as a source of energy. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the absorption of glucose doesn’t work as well as it should, the glucose can’t get into your cells and it remains unused in your blood. This is what happens to diabetics.

The signs to look for!

It’s not uncommon for someone to have diabetes and show no symptoms. But two symptoms that occur in many people with the disease are feeling thirsty and needing to urinate a lot. That’s because excess glucose circulating in your body draws water from your tissues, making you feel dehydrated. To quench your thirst, you drink a lot of beverages, this makes you urinate more often.