The symptoms of diabetes
Diabetes before pregnancy
Diabetes Australia support
Diabetes (also known as 'diabtetes mellitus'), is a condition where sugar (or glucose) accumulates in a person's blood, to higher than normal levels. This is known medically as 'hyperglycaemia'. When you eat foods containing sugar, your body's stomach and bowel break them down to release the glucose from these foods into your blood stream. This glucose is then taken into your muscles and body cells by a hormone called 'insulin' (produced by the pancreas). Insulin is an essential substance needed to transport glucose from the blood into the cells. Once the glucose is inside the muscles and cells, it can be used by the body for energy.
If the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, the glucose is unable to be carried into the body's muscles and organs. Therefore the glucose remains in the blood stream. Some of this excess glucose will pass out from the blood stream into the urine, through the kidneys. However, the rest of the glucose can accumulate to abnormally high levels, causing 'hyperglycaemia'.
When the body is unable to obtain all the glucose it needs for energy from the blood stream, the person is said to have 'impaired glucose metabolism'. The reason for impaired glucose metabolism is the pancreas not producing sufficient insulin, to keep up with the glucose supply coming from the foods being eaten. Because the muscles have little, or no, glucose for energy to function, they start to break down the body fat in an effort to use it for energy. Fat breakdown produces ketones in the person's blood (also shown in urine tests). Ketones are potentially poisonous substances that make the person feel unwell. Ketones can also damage body organs, if they are present in the blood stream for prolonged periods of time. This is called 'ketosis'.