What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease, which means it lasts a long time or often someone’s whole life. For our bodies to work properly, we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy.

In people with diabetes, insufficient insulin production occurs. So when people with diabetes eat glucose, which is in foods such as bread, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurt and sweets, it can’t be converted into energy. Instead of being turned into energy the glucose stays in the blood. Blood glucose levels are higher in people with Diabetes. Glucose flows around your body in your blood. Your blood glucose level is called glycaemia.

Unfortunately due to changes in lifestyle a growing number of Australians are being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes every year.

There are two different but equally destructive types of diabetes.

  • Type I involves an insulin deficiency and often develops at an early age.
  • Type II diabetes accounts for 85% of diabetes in Australia* and is associated with an insulin resistance.

Poor management of diabetes can lead to foot problems and increased risk of lower limb amputation. Podiatry can greatly reduce this risk.

What Can You Do About Diabetes?

Diabetics must consult their doctor who will guide them on how to measure and balance your glycemic index. Lifestyles changes can improve your glycemic index. Please consult your doctor.


What you eat is vital. People with diabetes should maintain their glycemic index within a healthy range. It is best to consult with your doctor and/or dietician for the best advice.

Does Exercise Help Diabetics?

Everybody benefits from regular exercise. If you have diabetes or are at risk of Diabetes, it plays an even more important role in keeping you healthy.

For a person with diabetes exercise helps:
  • Insulin to work better, which will improve your diabetes management
  • You control your weight
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Reduce stress.

Regular exercise is an important part of your diabetes management. If you are on insulin, it will help your insulin to work more efficiently and assist with your blood glucose control. However, if poorly controlled (i.e. fasting blood glucose levels greater than 14 mmol/L and urinary ketones), then it is best to avoid exercise until your blood glucose has settled. Exercise in these circumstances can elevate blood glucose and increase ketone production.

You are discouraged from a strenuous physical activity if you are feeling unwell or have ketones present in your blood or urine.

What Organs Does Diabetes Effect?

Unfortunately, Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects your whole body. Organs include your eyes, heart, kidneys, skin, liver and feet. It affects the speed that your injuries heal and neglect can cause permanent long-term damage.

How Does a Podiatrist Help Diabetics?

Regular checkups will ensure your foot health is monitored and maintained. Assessment includes:

  • Neurological assessment where we look for signs of sensory loss.
  • Vascular tests as sufficient vascular supply the lower limb is essential for healthy foot function.
  • A biomechanical assessment of your lower limbs with a particular interest in the feet, which helps us look for potential high-risk areas for ulceration and other complications.

Early detection of these risk factors will enable us to come up with a plan to prevent future complications enabling you to get on with your life.

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