It might take you around 5 minutes to read this article. During that time, one person in our country will develop Diabetes. And in the 5 minutes after that, another person will develop diabetes. And so on, until the end of the day, when an average of 280 Australians will have developed this serious and life-threatening disease.
Around 1.7 million people in Australia have diabetes, and worldwide, the number sits at more than 400 million. It is a major cause of blindness, lower limb amputation, kidney failure, and heart attack, and contributes to around 10% of deaths nationwide.
So what is this killer disease? Diabetes occurs when a person fails to maintain an optimal level of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a form of sugar, and is the main source of energy needed by our bodies. In a healthy body, the glucose from the food we eat is converted into energy, by a hormone called insulin. In a diabetic body, there is little to no insulin produced to convert the sugar into energy. This results in the glucose staying in the blood. Blood glucose levels must be monitored regularly, so that they do not rise too high, or drop too low. An elevated or diminished blood sugar reading can produce serious side effects that need to be treated immediately.
There are 2 main types of diabetes:
Type 1: an autoimmune condition where the pancreas does not produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes rely on insulin injections to survive. Without insulin, the body starts breaking down its own fats, releasing chemical substances into the blood. These chemicals can accumulate and have serious health implications for the sufferer.
Type 2: this form of diabetes happens over time, and is essentially the body becoming resistant to the normal effects of insulin, or, the body losing the ability to produce enough insulin to keep a person healthy. The body reacts by producing much more insulin than the body needs, but this effectively wears out the pancreas and greatly reduces the number of insulin-producing cells.
There is a strong genetic predisposition to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, so knowing your family health history can be a great benefit in planning for your healthy future. Having open conversations with family members can open up a world of knowledge about the types of conditions that you may be more susceptible to.
GTL DNA’s Genetic Predisposition Test carefully analyses your DNA against key markers associated with the development of more than 30 diseases and conditions, including diabetes. This test is painless and simple, requiring only a mouth swab to analyze your DNA. Everything will be sent directly to your door in our comprehensive kit, which includes full instructions.
Your results will comprise of a personalized report that provides valuable information as to whether you are ranked at a high, medium or low risk of developing a given condition during your lifetime.
While you are waiting for your results to be returned to you, you can educate yourself further about how to prevent and manage diabetes at Diabetes Australia. National Diabetes Week kicks off in Australia on 14 July, encouraging everyone to take some ‘me time’, a time to rest and educate yourself about the early signs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The It’s About Time website has a range of resources and information that can help you get up to speed about all forms of diabetes. Share your story on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, share the official video to involve others, or make a donation to Diabetes Australia.
It’s important to take some time out for ourselves every now and then, so put yourself at the top of your ‘to-do’ list, and make the most of your ‘me time’ this July with a GTL Genetic Predisposition Test, and the wonderful resources provided by Diabetes Australia.