Skip to main content

Diabetes – Part One

By September 30, 2022Physiotherapy

Diabetes is a condition that affects 1.8 million Australians with 280 Australian’s being newly diagnosed each day. There are multiple types of Diabetes with the two most common being type 1 and type 2. Over the next two blogs we will start with a discussion of the differences between type 1 and type 2 Diabetes and then follow on with some of the complications that can be experienced.

Both type 1 and 2 Diabetes share common symptoms including excessive thirst, excessive hunger and excessive fatigue. But differ in the way in which they develop and the age at which they onset. People who have type 1 Diabetes tend to be diagnosed in adolescence compared to type 2 Diabetes which is more commonly seen in those over the age of 30.

Type 1 Diabetes is a condition that is characterised by an autoimmune attack on the beta cells of the pancreas. The beta cells are a specialised type of cell which is found in the pancreas and is responsible for the production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for allowing sugar in the form of glucose to enter the body’s cells to be used for energy. Without this energy being available the cells are unable to function properly which, if left undiagnosed, can lead to coma and possibly death. People who are diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes require ongoing management of the condition in the form of insulin injections or pumps.

This is different to type 2 Diabetes which is characterised by the cells of the body becoming progressively immune to the effects of insulin. Initially the pancreas is still able to make insulin and release it, but the cells of the body are no longer sensitive to the effects of insulin. This causes the sugar levels in the blood to increase as glucose is unable to move into the cells to create energy. As the condition progresses, the cells become more resistant to the insulin to the point where they do not react at all and as a result the pancreas stops making endogenous insulin. The management of type 2 Diabetes is different to type 1 as the emphasis is now on diet and exercise, along with medications which make the body cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes surprisingly has more of a genetic disposition than type 1 Diabetes and the development of the condition can be heavily influenced by lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption. The reason why people develop type 1 Diabetes is still unknown.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 Diabetes it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It has been shown that in people with type 2 Diabetes exercise has a protective effect where it is able to increase the sensitivity of the body cells to insulin. This means that they are more receptive to the effects of insulin which allows more glucose into the cells and therefore less sugar accumulating in the blood. Exercise also helps with weight loss which has another effect on the insulin sensitivity of the cells, reducing the amount of sugar building up in the blood. It is important, especially in those with diabetes to make sure that the exercise level is appropriate because of the co-morbidities that exist.

If you need help with exercise, contact one of our friendly physiotherapists at Bend + Mend.

Emillie Kinkella

Emillie joined the Bend + Mend team after a move east to Sydney from Bunbury, Western Australia. Emillie graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy) in 2017 and since graduation has had experience in both the public and private settings working in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. She has undergone post graduate training in dry needling, tendinopathy management, lower back pain disorders and Clinical Pilates. Emillie grew up in a soccer orientated family and enjoys treating soccer related injuries sustained both on and off the field, along with lower back pain disorders and tendinopathies. Outside of work Emillie enjoys cooking up a storm and exploring the sights of beautiful Sydney.

Leave a Reply