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General health

Diabetes is a complex condition, given that it can affect many parts of your body as well as your mind. Knowing how to look after yourself to minimise or even prevent complications is the first important step in living well with diabetes.

Find out more about living with diabetes and managing your health.

There are a couple of other areas of general health you should be aware of.

Body image

Living with diabetes places a lot of focus on food, weight and body image. Sometimes, this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, disordered eating or, possibly an eating disorder. If you are experiencing any of these problems, you are not alone. There are many things you can do to change the relationship you have with food. Research has shown that some people with diabetes struggle with maintaining healthy eating, develop fixations about food and misuse insulin for weight management.

If you have concerns about how you feel and think about your eating, weight or body image, seek help from your GP or diabetes health professional. They can help you identify if there is a problem and give you the best advice.

Read more in our fact sheets:

For more information and support on body image and loving your body visit ReachOut.

Go to The Butterfly Foundation or call 1800 334 673. The Butterfly Foundation provides telephone and online counselling by trained professionals who understand eating disorders, as well as information and support services.


If you are a woman and have diabetes you are more prone to developing thrush—an infection with a fungus that can occur in warm, moist areas like the vagina, groin or mouth. As embarrassing and uncomfortable as it can be, it is easily treated and occurs quite often in the general population. For more information about thrush visit the MyDr or healthdirect website. If you think you might have thrush, be sure to visit your doctor.

Mental health

Everyone feels down or sad from time to time. For most people, these feelings do not last long. However, for some, the sadness becomes so intense and long-lasting that it starts to affect daily life, including work, school, relationships and diabetes management. If you feel this way, you may have depression, but you are not alone. There are many things you can do to overcome your feelings of depression.

Depression is much more than sadness. It is a serious mental health condition.

If you think you might be experiencing depression, it is important that you seek help from a qualified health professional.

Read more in our fact sheets:

Dealing with the lows

Living with diabetes can sometimes feel like a burden. It can feel frustrating and stressful trying to do all that’s needed to manage your diabetes. At times, you may feel anxious, low in mood, or worried.

If you are struggling, it can help to be aware of your feelings and to address problems early. There are a range of health professionals who can help.

Your general practitioner (GP), endocrinologist or diabetes educator are well placed to offer basic emotional support. Talk with them about how you’ve been feeling about your diabetes.

For further support, you may want to talk with a psychologist, mental health nurse, social worker or psychiatrist.

Medicare may provide a rebate on psychologist fees if you have a referral from a GP under a Mental Health Care Plan or a Chronic Disease Management plan. Discuss this with your doctor if you would like to seek counselling.

Read more in our fact sheet When and how psychologists can support people with diabetes.

More information and support

  • Call the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 and ask to speak to a diabetes health professional.
  • Go to Beyond Blue or call 1300 224 636. Beyond Blue provides information and support to people with depression or anxiety or anyone going through a tough time. Support services are available via telephone, email or live chat, including online forums where you can connect with others.
  • Go to Lifeline or call 1300 13 11 14. Lifeline offers 24-hour confidential telephone and online crisis support. People contact Lifeline for a range of reasons, including feelings of depression, stress, anxiety and suicidal thoughts or attempts.
  • Go to Headspace. Headspace offers online and phone support for young people aged 12–25.
  • Go to Black Dog Institute. Black Dog Institute offer a free, online program to improve the wellbeing and resilience of young Australians.
  • Go to Australian Psychology Society for more information about psychologists.

Featured resources

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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