Diabetes & PCOS

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic condition characterised by high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Blood glucose is normally regulated by insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas). Diabetes occurs when there is a problem with this hormone and how it works in the body. Type 1 diabetes results when the pancreas can’t make insulin, insulin resistance is when cells don’t respond to insulin properly, and type 2 diabetes results when the pancreas produces inadequate amounts of insulin compared to the body’s needs. Glucose builds up in the blood rather than making its way to cells for use as energy.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. After birth, the mother’s glucose levels usually return to normal, however women have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes after experiencing gestational diabetes.

What are the symptoms of Diabetes?

Some types of diabetes are asymptomatic and go undiagnosed for a long time, however some of the common symptoms include:

~ Increased thirst

~ Increased urination

~ Fatigue

~ Slow healing wounds

~ Itching and skin infections

~ Blurred vision

~ Nausea and vomiting

~ Weight loss

~ Mood swings

What is Impaired Glucose Tolerance?

Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Pre-Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, however they are not high enough to be cause diabetes.

What are the complications of Diabetes ?

High blood glucose levels may cause a range of serious health problems, including:

~ Nephropathy (kidney damage)

~ Retinopathy (eye damage)

~ Neuropathy (nerve damage)

~ Heart disease (angina, heart attacks, stroke)

~ Circulation problems in legs

~ Erectile dysfunction

~ Foot ulcers or infections (from circulation problems and nerve damage)

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome ?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition where follicles form on the ovaries. Women with PCOS generally have high levels of insulin and/or male hormones (androgens). PCOS is common in infertile women, and generally runs in families and women who are overweight.

What are the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome ?

Women who suffer with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome generally experience the following symptoms:

~ Irregular menstral cycles

~ Amnorrhoea (no periods)

~ Excessive facial/body hair

~ Acne

~ Reduced fertility

~ Mood changes (anxiety and depression)

~ Obesity

~ Sleep apnoea

When should you get a referral to a dietitian?

~ If you have been newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes

~ If you have unstable blood glucose levels

~ If you you have elevated HbA1c levels

~ If you have frequent hypoglycaemia

~ If you have a poor understanding of nutritional management

~ If you have changes to any prescribed medications (including commencing insulin)

~ If you have undesirable changes in your weight

~ If you have stage 3 or 4 renal disease

What are the benefits of involving a dietitian?

~ Dietary prescription tailored to individual needs, lifestyle, medications and other disease management

~ Improved blood glucose control

~ Improved HbA1c levels

~ Reduced risk of complications related to diabetes

~ Improved body weight

~ Dietary management with insulin therapy