AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Public Interest Disclosure Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsOnline reportsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subject Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Chronic disease indicators Deaths Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Height and weight data sources Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity
Mental health National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National indicator catalogue Perinatal data Risk factors statistics Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee AODTS NMDS WG CKDMAC CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that significantly affects the health of Australians. It may lead to a range of complications which can cause disability, and reduce people’s quality of life and life expectancy. Diabetes is responsible for an enormous public health and social burden, and is one of the top 10 causes of death in Australia.
Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) condition in which the body loses its ability to control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin is a hormone produced by special cells in the pancreas that helps the body to convert glucose from food into energy. People with diabetes either don’t have enough insulin or their body cannot use insulin effectively, so glucose stays in the blood instead of being turned into energy, causing blood sugar levels to become high. Different insulin abnormalities cause different types of diabetes. Four main types of diabetes exist: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and other diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
Other types of diabetes
Impaired glucose regulation
Type 1 diabetes mainly occurs in children or young adults, although it can occur at any age. In type 1 diabetes the body stops making insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot turn glucose (sugar) into energy so it burns its own fats as a substitute. Unless treated with insulin, people with type 1 diabetes accumulate dangerous chemicals in their blood from the burning of fat, causing a condition known as ketoacidosis. This condition is potentially life-threatening if not treated.
Most cases of type 1 diabetes are caused by the destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas by the body’s immune system. According to self-reported data from the 2007–08 National Health Survey, around 10% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs mostly in people aged 50 years and over and, although still uncommon in childhood, it is becoming increasingly diagnosed in younger people. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but cannot use it effectively or may not produce enough. Type 2 diabetes may initially be managed with changes to diet and exercise, and/or oral glucose-lowering drugs. People with type 2 diabetes may progress to needing insulin or a combination of these therapies if their condition cannot be managed through lifestyle changes and/or oral drugs. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 87% of all people with diabetes, according to self-reported data from the 2007–08 National Health Survey.
Gestational diabetes mellitus is a form of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. It involves high blood sugar levels appearing for the first time during pregnancy in women not previously diagnosed with other forms of diabetes. This type of diabetes is short term and, although it usually disappears after the baby is born, it can recur in later pregnancies. Gestational diabetes is also a marker of increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Some cases of gestational diabetes are managed with changes to diet and exercise, and some require insulin treatment. About 5% of pregnant women are affected.
Other types of diabetes can occur as a result of other conditions or syndromes, such as:
Around 3% of people are affected by other types of diabetes.
Impaired glucose regulation, or intermediate hypeglycaemia, is the metabolic state between normal glucose regulation and the state of failed regulation known as diabetes. There are two categories of impaired glucose regulation:
IFG and IGT are considered risk factors for the future development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
AIHW 2011. Prevalence of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children, 2008
AIHW 2011. Diabetes prevalence in Australia: Detailed estimates for 2007–08
AIHW 2010. Australia’s health 2012
AIHW 2010. Diabetes in pregnancy: its impact on Australian women and their babies
AIHW 2009. Prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: targeting risk factors
AIHW 2008. Diabetes, Australian facts 2008