What is diabetes?

Diabetes is when the body can’t keep the level of sugar in the blood healthy. This happens when there is a problem with the hormone called insulin, which controls the amount of sugar in the blood.

People with diabetes can get problems with their heart, their eyes, and their skin as they get older.

There are two types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is when the body doesn’t produce insulin. We don’t know what causes this. People with type 1 diabetes have to inject themselves with insulin to keep the levels of sugar in their blood healthy. This type of diabetes cannot be prevented.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body produces less insulin than it needs, or the insulin doesn’t work as well as it should. Most people who have diabetes have type 2, and it can be prevented.

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People can have type 2 diabetes for a long time and not have any symptoms.

Common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Being really thirsty for no reason
  • Passing large amounts of pee
  • Cuts that don’t heal
  • Being unusually hungry
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowly putting on weight for no reason.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

You are more likely to get it if you:

  • Have a close relative with type 2 diabetes
  • Are older than 55
  • Are Aboriginal and older than 45
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are overweight (waist measurement more than 94cm)


Tips for preventing type 2 diabetes

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  • Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day is enough to improve your health and wellbeing.
  • You don’t have to do 30 minutes all at once, you can break it up over the day.
  • Getting moving with mates in the yard can help everyone get motivated and make exercise more fun.
  • Exercising or training with a buddy, like your cellie, is a good way to help each other.
  • Moving more can help if your emotions are up and down, or you get stuck doing head miles.
  • A daily routine is a good thing too And don’t forget, walking is great exercise.

Re-think your buy-ups

  • Eat less sugar, salt and fat Look for the OK sign on the buy-ups list
  • Tinned vegetables are a great alternative if you can’t get fresh ones.
  • Try adding things like rice, beans and tinned fish
  • If you buy a treat, share it.
  • Swap food with lots of sugar and fat, for foods with less, like chips for popcorn.
  • Make water your main drink, and drink plenty of it.
  • Aim for a waist measurement of no more than 94cm.