Every day almost 300 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes. But for many the diagnosis is being made too late putting them at risk of life threatening or serious health issues. That’s why we are urging people to “take the time” to learn the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes this National Diabetes Week.
National Diabetes Week runs from 14 – 20 July and this year is all about raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes to increase earlier detection and promote action.
What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. We do not know what causes this auto-immune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented but it can be managed effectively.
Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood, although you can develop it at any age. Being diagnosed and treated quickly is critical.
Signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes may include:
Passing urine more frequently
Excessive thirst and drinking a lot of fluids
Unexplained weight loss
Skin infections or itching
Oral or vaginal thrush
The signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes can develop suddenly over a few days or weeks. They can be severe and, if left untreated, life-threatening. If you or a member of your family are experiencing one or more of these symptoms you should make an urgent appointment to see your doctor.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition that tends to develop gradually. As a result, the signs and symptoms may progress very slowly. You may not notice the signs or symptoms at all, or you may dismiss them as a normal part of getting older.
This can mean that by the time you notice something, you may have been living with diabetes for some years, and you could be at risk of developing complications. In some cases, those complications may be the first sign that you have diabetes.
Signs of type 2 diabetes may include:
Passing urine more frequently, commonly noticed at night
Being more thirsty than usual
Feeling tired, lethargic or irritable
Constantly feeling hungry despite having eaten
Having cuts, sores or ulcers that heal slowly
Itching, skin infections
Thrush or bladder infections
Weight changes – commonly a gradual increase in weight
Pain or tingling in the lower legs and/or feet
If you notice one or more of these signs or symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor immediately.
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can prevent the development of serious, and in some cases life-threatening, health problems.
Our team is here to support you and your family, if you or someone you love may suffer from diabetes, our experienced and caring GPs and nurses can tailor a suitable care plan to suit your needs. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your GP.