Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and also the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system. In Australia, 280 people develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes.
Most people with diabetes, around 85%, have type 2 diabetes. They still produce insulin but it does not work as well. It usually affects mature adults, but younger people, even children, are now getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who have low levels of physical activity or are overweight or obese, but it also occurs in people who have a family history of it.
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Symptoms may not show for many years and, by the time they appear, significant problems may have developed. People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes may be treated by dietary changes, exercise and/or tablets. Insulin injections may later be required.