What we’re doing about diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that is common in Australia and around the world. It is a serious condition that can affect quality of life. Find out what we’re doing to help Australians living with diabetes.

What is diabetes?

For our bodies to work, we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. People with diabetes can’t convert sugar to energy efficiently. This leads to high levels of sugar in the blood, called hyperglycaemia.

Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, controls our blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs when your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or your body becomes resistant to insulin.

There are different types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and require lifelong insulin replacement to survive. The disease can occur at any age, although it mostly occurs in children and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with hereditary factors and lifestyle risk factors. These include poor diet, not getting enough physical activity, and being overweight or obese. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their condition through lifestyle changes. However, they may also need diabetes medications or insulin replacement to control blood sugar levels.

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears after the baby’s birth. Women who had gestational diabetes while pregnant are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later.

See healthdirect for more information about diabetes.

What are we doing about diabetes?

We are addressing diabetes nationally. Several programs and initiatives help treat or manage diabetes-related problems. We fund research into diabetes, and maintain national monitoring and surveillance.

See more chronic conditions resources.

Last updated: 
3 March 2020

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