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Diabetes is a chronic disease characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood. Blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, or the body becomes resistant to insulin, or both. There are three main forms of the disease as seen below.
Diabetes is addressed at a national level through a range of programs and initiatives to support treatment and management of diabetes-related problems. Significant funding is also provided to ensure that quality clinical research is conducted into diabetes, and to maintain national monitoring and surveillance measures.
Book an appointment with a GP at Westridge Medical for a Diabetes Program and any tests you may need.
Programs that support management and treatment of diabetes conditions include:
- The Medicare Benefits Schedule: provides subsidies for patient care and includes Medicare items for the planning and management of chronic and terminal conditions. Eligible patients can also be referred by a GP for up to five Medicare subsidised allied health services that are directly related to the treatment of their chronic condition, including diabetes.
- The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme: provides subsidies for medicines used in the treatment of diabetes.
- The National Diabetes Services Scheme – provides subsidised products including syringes and needles, blood glucose test strips, urine ketone test strips and insulin pump consumables to persons with diagnosed diabetes who are registered with the Scheme.
Diabetes is diagnosed when:
- Symptoms are present and a fasting blood test returns a result at, or above, 7.0mmol/L.
- A random fasting blood test returns a result at or above 11.1mmol/L.
- A HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) blood test returns a result of at, or above, 6.5%.
- There have been no symptoms and two abnormal blood glucose tests are recorded on separate days.
- Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and require lifelong insulin injections for survival. The disease can occur at any age, although it mostly occurs in children and young adults. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as juvenile onset diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is associated with hereditary factors and lifestyle risk factors including poor diet, insufficient physical activity and overweight or obesity. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their condition through lifestyle changes; however, diabetes medications or insulin injections may also be required to control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes occurs mostly in people aged over 40 years old, however, the disease is also becoming increasingly prevalent in younger age groups.
- Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. The condition usually disappears once the baby is born, however, a history of gestational diabetes increases a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. The condition may be managed through adopting healthy dietary and exercise habits, although diabetes medication, including insulin, may also be required to manage blood sugar levels.
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