About This Condition
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.
The exact cause of diabetes is unknown, although both genetic and environmental factors, as well as lifestyle issues (for example, obesity and lack of exercise) appear to play roles.
There are two major types of diabetes, known as Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children and teenagers, and for this reason was once called “juvenile onset diabetes.” However, people of all ages can be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The cause is unknown, though there seems to be a strong family link that can be triggered by environmental factors such as viruses. Type 1 diabetes does not appear to be related to lifestyle or obesity.
Type 1 diabetes occurs most often in children and young adults and accounts for 10-15% of diabetes cases in Australia.1
Type 2 diabetes affects over 1 million people in Australia, making it the most common form of diabetes.2 While it was once called “adult onset diabetes”, children and teenagers can develop Type 2 diabetes as well.