Diabetes mellitus is a type of endocrine disorder that affects the pancreas. The pancreas is the organ in the body that regulates blood glucose (sugar) level by secreting insulin. Insulin helps the body metabolise sugar by helping cells use up available sugar for energy. People who have diabetes have a problem with the metabolism of sugar.
In Australia, over 1 million people are living with the condition and around 300 new diagnoses are made every day. There are several types of diabetes mellitus, including:
- In type 1 diabetes mellitus, the pancreas does not produce insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus is when there is not enough insulin being produced by the pancreas.
- Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy.
- Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes occurs when people do not fit the diagnostic criteria of diabetes but show some signs of the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, affecting around 85% of people with diabetes. There is no single cause of type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle factors can play a part. There is good evidence to suggest that prevention is the best cure; therefore it is important to understand your risk factors. There are some risk factors that are inherent such as age and gender— these are called non-modifiable risk factors. Modifiable risk factors can be mitigated by making changes to your lifestyle.
Diabetes Australia suggests that the main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes are:
Those who are older than 55 have a higher risk of developing diabetes
- Health history
You carry a higher risk if you are overweight, have had gestational diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Family history
Persons with a family history of diabetes are at a higher risk
Modifiable risk factors of diabetes:
- Diet and high cholesterol
Vegetarian diets are associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes. Diets that are high in sugar and animal products are associated with a higher risk of disease
People who exercise on a regular basis are at less risk of developing diabetes
- High blood pressure
With changes to diet, lifestyle and medication, many people are able to manage their blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight
This Wellness Screening Tool is designed to assess your level of risk for developing diabetes mellitus. It will look at some of the risk factors for diabetes. This is not intended to diagnose the presence or absence of disease. If you are concerned about your health or your results from this Wellness Screening Tool, speak to your local General Practitioner.