What is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition which occurs as a result of problems with the production and supply of insulin in the body.

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1 What is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition which occurs as a result of problems with the production and supply of insulin in the body. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, a form of sugar. We use glucose as a source of energy to provide power for our muscles and other tissues. In order for our muscles and other tissues to absorb glucose from our blood, we need a hormone called insulin. Without insulin, our bodies cannot obtain the necessary energy from our food. Insulin is made in a large gland behind the stomach called the pancreas. It is released by cells called beta cells. As a result, people with diabetes cannot use enough of the glucose in the food they eat. This leads to the amount of glucose in the blood increasing. This high level of glucose or high blood sugar is called hyperglycaemia. High levels of glucose in the blood can lead to serious complications. At present there is no cure for diabetes. When a person has diabetes, either their pancreas does not produce the insulin they need, or their body cannot use its own insulin effectively. Produced in collaboration with:

2 Types of diabetes Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition, usually brought on suddenly when the body ceases to make meaningful amounts of insulin. It most often occurs in childhood, but can occur at any age. People who have Type 1 diabetes do not make insulin (or have very little). The body is unable therefore to use glucose for energy as the immune system has damaged the pancreas and stops it making insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes need daily insulin injections. In New Zealand about 15,000 people suffer from Type 1 diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes are making some insulin, but the production becomes sluggish or their body becomes resistant to it. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disorder. Being overweight is a major cause for the body becoming resistant to insulin, triggering Type 2 diabetes, even in young people. Type 2 diabetes can be treated initially through weight loss and regular physical activity. Medication in the form of tablets is often required later to reduce the resistance to insulin or to stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin. Some Type 2 patients may eventually require insulin injections. In New Zealand about 142,000 people suffer from Type 2 diabetes. This is an epidemic in New Zealand. Southern Cross Medical Care Society, Level 1, Ernst & Young Building, 2 Takutai Square, Auckland /MS/CON/1XSHE01/0411

3 Diabetes risk factors Below is a list of risk factors. You have control of each of those indicated under Modifiable : Modifiable Non-modifiable How often you exercise Exercising regularly lowers the risk The amount of fat you eat Eating a healthy diet reduces the risk Being overweight People who are a healthy weight are less at risk Taking action if you have been diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes You can prevent many problems with Type 2 diabetes if you know you might be at risk early and take action to manage it. Your age Risks increase with age Your family history of diabetes Risks are higher if family members have diabetes Your ethnicity Maori, Pacific and Asian people are at greater risk Giving birth to a large baby Greater than 4kg / 9lbs increases the risk. Running is a cardio workout that uses more energy than most other forms of exercise. Regular running can help build bone strength and reduce blood pressure, the risk of heart attack and stroke. Produced in collaboration with: Southern Cross Medical Care Society, 181 Grafton Road, Newmarket, Auckland 1010

4 Reduce the risk of diabetes 1. Stay physically active with daily exercise Thirty minutes of brisk walking each day is fine, even in three lots of ten minutes. 2. Eat healthy food Avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. Does your main meal look like this? The ideal plate It is important to eat a variety of healthy food. The portions on your plate should be based on the ideal plate. 3. Maintain a healthy weight. Ideal Plate image courtesy of Counties Manukau District Health Board Southern Cross Medical Care Society, Level 1, Ernst & Young Building, 2 Takutai Square, Auckland /MS/CON/1XSHE01/0411

5 Diabetes symptoms The early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing diabetes. Some diabetes symptoms include: frequent urination excessive thirst extreme hunger unusual weight loss increased fatigue irritability blurry vision recurring infections Diabetes can be present even if you have no noticeable symptoms. If you think you may already have or be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Take The Test at and discuss the results with your doctor. Quick facts If you have a blood relative with Type 2 diabetes you are more likely to develop it. However Type 2 diabetes sometimes occurs in people who have no-one in their family with the condition. Type 2 diabetes can often be postponed and possibly prevented. There are no apparent symptoms of Type 1 diabetes until more than 90% of the insulin producing cells have been destroyed. Produced in collaboration with:

6 Diabetes in New Zealand Did you know? 19 people are diagnosed with diabetes every day in New Zealand. Over 160,000 people have diabetes. Another 160,000 people have diabetes but don t know it. A further 800,000 people are at risk of developing diabetes due to being overweight or obese. Up to 80% of Type 2 diabetes is preventable. Many children in New Zealand are seriously overweight. Some already have Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes has become so serious across the world that the United Nations has passed a Resolution that all countries need to take action on diabetes. Source: Diabetes New Zealand Auckland, Southern Cross Medical Care Society, Level 1, Ernst & Young Building, 2 Takutai Square, Auckland /MS/CON/1XSHE01/0411

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