About diabetes

Diabetes is the world's fastest-growing chronic disease. It's the sixth-leading cause of death in Australia.


Every day, 62 Queenslanders are diagnosed with the condition, in most cases with the largely preventable type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a medical condition where the body fails to process blood sugar or glucose in a normal way.  


The symptoms of diabetes can be subtle and include tiredness, feeling lethargic, feeling thirsty and blurred vision. These symptoms are often put down to normal daily stresses, age, or general wear and tear.


There are several types of diabetes


  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-diabetes


Type 1 diabetes


Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes, and usually develops in people under 30 years of age. Type 1 diabetes affects 10 to 15 per cent of all people with diabetes.


With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn't produce insulin because the cells that make insulin have been destroyed by the immune system. People with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections to regulate their blood glucose levels.


Type 2 diabetes


Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85 to 90 per cent of all people with diabetes. It is known as a lifestyle condition, where the body still produces some insulin but it may not be enough or work well enough to keep blood glucose levels within a healthy range.


Your risk for type 2 diabetes is higher if you

  • have a family history type 2 diabetes
  • developed diabetes during pregnancy
  • are more than 40 years of age
  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • don't get enough exercise
  • have high blood pressure
  • have a waist measurement above 94cm for men, or 80cm for women
  • have a poor diet, containing too much fatty and sugary foods


Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes? To use our online screening tool to determine your risk of development type 2 diabetes, click here.  


Gestational diabetes


Gestational diabetes occurs in 3 to 8 per cent of Australian women during pregnancy, and usually goes away once the baby is born. However, about 17 per cent of these women will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, and up to 50 per cent will develop type 2 diabetes within 30 years. Good management after pregnancy helps to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.




One in four adults over the age of 25 years have either been diagnosed with diabetes or a condition known as pre-diabetes. 


People with pre-diabetes have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.


About Diabetes Queensland


No one has to tackle the challenges of diabetes alone. For almost 50 years, we've helped thousands of Queenslanders get more from life by providing them with the right tools, information and support needed to properly manage their diabetes.


Since 1968, Diabetes Queensland has been connecting Queensland's largest community of people with diabetes, their families, carers and supporters.


Diabetes Queensland works hard to help people living with diabetes, health professionals, government, researchers and the broader community gain a better understanding of the condition, provide best diabetes management tools and information based on the latest research, and provide ongoing support and advice


To visit the Diabetes Queensland homepage for more information, click here.