Diabetes and insulin

People with type        1 diabetes must inject insulin every day, often up to four or five times per day.
There are different insulin delivery devices available ranging from a syringe and needle to an insulin delivery pen to an insulin pump.
Your doctor or diabetes nurse educator will teach you about how, where and when to inject insulin, and how to store it safely.
Even with the help of your doctor and diabetes nurse educator, it may take a while to find the right insulin dose to reduce your blood glucose to your target levels.
On this  2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
On this page:
Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
Gestational diabetes
Insulin for diabetes
Starting on insulin
Types of insulin
Short-acting insulin
Insulin injection devices
Insulin injection sites
Factors that speed insulin absorption
Factors that delay insulin absorption
Disposal of used insulin syringes
Insulin storage
Insulin safety
Record your blood glucose levels and insulin doses
Where to get help
Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) is a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition where the body loses its ability to produce insulin, or begins to produce or use insulin less efficiently, resulting in blood glucose levels that are too high

Over time, blood glucose levels above the normal range can damage your eyes, kidneys and nerves, and can also cause heart disease and stroke. An estimated 280 Australians develop diabetes every day.

Diabetes is Australia’s fastest-growing chronic disease. The main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops when the cells of the pancreas stop producing insulin. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells of the muscles for energy. Instead the glucose rises in the blood causing a person to become extremely unwell. Type 1 diabetes is life threatening if insulin is not replaced. People with type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin for the rest of their lives.

Type 1 diabetes often occurs in children and people under 30 years of age, but it can occur at any age. This condition is not caused by lifestyle factors. Its exact cause is not known but research shows that something in the environment can trigger it in a person that has a genetic risk.

The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells of the pancreas after the person gets a virus because it sees the cells as foreign. Most people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes do not have family members with this condition. For more information about symptoms, visit the Diabetes type 1 fact sheet.

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Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes develops when the pancreas does not make enough insulin and the insulin that is made does not work as well as it should (also known as insulin resistance). As a result, the glucose begins to rise above normal levels in the blood. Half the people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have the condition because they have no symptoms.

Type 2 diabetes (once known as adult-onset diabetes) affects 85 to 90 per cent of all people with diabetes. People who develop type 2 diabetes are very likely to also have someone in their family with the condition. It is considered a lifestyle condition because being overweight and not doing enough physical activity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

People from certain ethnic backgrounds, such as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Polynesian, Asian or Indian are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can manage their condition with healthy diet and increased physical activity.

Over time, most people with type 2 diabetes will need diabetes tablets to help keep their blood glucose levels in the target range. (Regular blood glucose monitoring may be necessary in order to keep track of the effectiveness of the treatment.) The starting time for diabetes tablets varies according to individual need. About 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes need insulin injections within 6 to 10 years of diagnosis.

Read more about type 2 diabetes on the Better Health Channel. The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) has fact sheets on Type 2 diabetes a

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