Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body cannot maintain normal blood glucose levels. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body. Glucose is made by the breakdown of carbohydrate.
Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells. When the body does not produce enough insulin, the cells cannot use glucose and the blood glucose level rises. Three main types of diabetes affect Australians - type 1 (previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes), type 2 (previously known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes) and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
Diabetes affects an estimated 940,000 people, and about half of these are not aware they have the disease. If undetected or poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, lower limb amputation, heart attack, stoke and impotence.