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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about diabetes

Are there different types of diabetes?

Yes. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1,  type 2, and gestational diabetes (which affects some pregnant women). There is also a condition known as pre-diabetes. Find out more in our fact sheet Pre-diabetes.

What are the main symptoms of diabetes?

with symptoms that you make you feel quite unwell, so it’s usually diagnosed quite quickly. In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all, while other signs can go unnoticed. It can, therefore, take much longer to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms people with diabetes might experience (some might occur suddenly):

  • being thirstier than usual
  • needing to pee more
  • feeling tired and having no energy
  • always feeling hungry
  • having cuts that heal slowly
  • itching, skin infections
  • blurred vision
  • losing weight for no reason (type 1)
  • gradually putting on weight (type 2)
  • mood swings
  • headaches
  • feeling dizzy
  • leg cramps

But having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have diabetes. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, go see your doctor.

How is diabetes managed?

Whether you have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, the aim of any diabetes treatment is to get blood glucose levels as close to normal as often as possible:

  • For type 1 diabetes, insulin injections are needed every day, along with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
  • For type 2 diabetes, initially a healthy diet and regular physical activity may be all that’s needed, but later on, some people may need tablets and/or insulin.
  • For gestational diabetes, initially healthy eating, physical activity and monitoring and maintaining a normal blood glucose level. If this doesn’t work, insulin injections will be needed for the rest of the pregnancy.

Is there a cure for diabetes?

At the moment, there is no cure for diabetes. However, there is a huge amount of research being done in Australia and overseas, with breakthroughs and innovations in diabetes treatment being made. So, you never know; someday, maybe in the not-too-distant future, there may be a cure.

Can you ‘catch’ diabetes?

Diabetes is not contagious, so you cannot catch it from a person or from an environment.

Who will help me if I have diabetes?

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you don’t need to face it alone. Along with the support of family and friends, you will have the support of a team of health professionals to help you manage your diabetes. While you are the most important member of your diabetes team, team members generally include your doctor, a diabetes educator, a dietitian and a podiatrist (foot specialist). Team members may also include other medical specialists to provide medical, lifestyle and emotional help and support when you need it.

Organisations such as Diabetes Australia are also here to help and support people with diabetes. You can become a member of your local diabetes organisation and receive membership benefits.

You can also register with the National Diabetes Services Scheme for free. Registration only has to be done once and you get access to loads of information, support and subsidised products.

How can I look after my diabetes?

There are many steps you can take to manage your diabetes:

  • Find the diabetes team members in your area. Your doctor may need to refer you, but this is not always necessary.
  • Test your blood glucose levels regularly.
  • Always take your insulin (if you need insulin).
  • If your doctor gives you tablets to help manage your diabetes, blood pressure and/or cholesterol, make sure you take them regularly and on time.
  • Stay active.
  • Have a healthy eating plan.
  • Stay positive.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it.

What is the NDSS?

The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered by Diabetes Australia. The NDSS provides information and support services, as well as diabetes-related products at subsidised prices, to people with diabetes. Registration is free and open to all eligible people diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. We recognise their connection to land, waters, winds and culture. We pay the upmost respect to them, their cultures and to their Elders, past and present. We are committed to improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by diabetes and those at risk.

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