Did you know that around the world each day, every 8 seconds, diabetes kills one person? For the 415 million people living with diabetes, this is a very real, and devastating statistic.
This is also a frightening statistic for the almost 2 million Australians living with the two major types of Diabetes. So what exactly is diabetes, and how does it affect people?
Basically, diabetes is the result of a person failing to maintain optimal levels 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.
Both types of diabetes can affect the body in many ways, and causes a number of long term health problems in those who have it. Diabetics can suffer from a range of symptoms and associated illnesses, including, but not limited to, a loss of consciousness, disturbances in their vision, and increased susceptibility to glaucoma an cataracts, extreme thirst, fatigue, high blood pressure, damaged blood vessels and a heightened risk of stroke, heart disease, infections and nerve damage.
So is diabetes a genetic condition, and are there ways of preventing it? For both types of diabetes, there is solid evidence to suggest that people can be genetically predisposed to this debilitating condition. Aside from having frank and open discussions with your immediate family members, genetic testing can help to determine if you are at
risk of developing diabetes. Total DNA Services offers a Genetic Predisposition Test, which analyses your DNA (from a safe and painless mouth swab) against the key markers associated with the onset of more than 30 diseases, including diabetes. Your results will be available in a timely manner, and will provide you with a personalised report ranking each condition as either a high, medium or low risk. What a great way to invest in the future of your health.
World Diabetes Day falls on 14 November, so this is the perfect time to order your test from Total DNA Services, and to become better informed about diabetes. This year’s theme is ‘The Family and Diabetes’, which aims to raise awareness about how diabetes affects the family unit, and to highlight the important roles that family members play in supporting their loves ones with diabetes.
For more detailed information about diabetes, Diabetes Australia can help.