Diabetes is considered the health epidemic of the 21st century with 280 Australians being diagnosed every day and affecting 1.7 million Australians overall (of which two-thirds may not know they have diabetes). So it’s important to us at Osana that every patient is screened and risk factors addressed.
The disease is complex and revolves around the body not maintaining healthy levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood, resulting in organ damage over time. Symptoms to look out for include excessive thirst, fatigue, poor wound healing, skin ulcers, blurred vision, as well as unexplained weight loss. Family history, obesity, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, certain ethnicities (e.g. Indigenous, Pacific Islanders, Chinese) are known risk factors.
The dangers of diabetes include blindness (diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults), kidney failure and dialysis, amputations, heart attacks and strokes (risk increases four-fold with diabetes), and depression and anxiety (30% more common in people with diabetes). Treatment depends on the type of diabetes but usually involves strict diet and exercise measures initially, oral medications and sometimes insulin injections.
Controlling glucose levels leads to reduction in the above dangers, so much so that good control conveys long term benefits (even if bad control occurs later on, the so-called legacy effect). Therefore it’s important to diagnose and treat diabetes as early as possible. Things you can do to reduce the risk of diabetes include reducing weight (if overweight), eating healthy, exercising, managing stress, sleeping 6-8 hours daily and maintaining good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing).