There are a variety of classifications of diabetes, which include Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and other less common types of diabetes. Mosby’s Dictionary of medicine (Harris, Nagy & Vardaxis 2006, p. 520), defines diabetes mellitus as ‘a complex disorder of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism that is primarily a result of a deficiency of absence of insulin secretion by the beta cells of the pancreas or resistance to insulin.’ According to the NHPAC (2006, p.6), diabetes is the sixth most significant cause of death in Australia. Due to the predominance in the disease across Australia, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) listed the disease as a National Health Priority Area, affirming that the disease contributes to ‘ill health, disability, poor quality of life and premature death’(AIHW DPA 2011, p.1).
Diabetes mellitus results in considerable amounts of morbidity and mortality across the Australian population (Zimmet & Magliano 2011). The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) noted that in 2010 an estimated 4 million deaths could be attributed to the disease (2009, p.1) . Current research (American Diabetes Association 2011, p. 1), highlights that the complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy, and amputation. Of such complications cardiovascular disease is the most likely to result in death as a result of diabetes, kidney disease is the second highest cause of death (National Public Health Partnership 2003, p. 4). Once diagnosed with diabetes you are 2 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke or die of heart disease (American Diabetes Association 2011, p. 1).
The AIHW estimates the morbidity rate of diabetes in Australia between 2007-2008 to be over 898’000 and has since risen (AIHW DPA 2011). The AIHW (2011, p. 6), summarizes that type 2 diabetes occurs approximately 9 times more frequently than type 1 diabetes and the proportion of people with diabetes in the varying areas and regions of Australia remained similar. Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with the disease and only 4% of people with diabetes are under 35 years of age (AIHW DPA 2011).
Current research (AIHW DPA 2011) clarifies that ‘it is not known how many Australians currently have undiagnosed diabetes’ and there for it should be acknowledged that the actual figures of the morbidity rate of diabetes is higher than recorded. The highest morbidity rates occur from the age of 65 years to over 80 (AIHW DPA 2011). According to the current research from the AIHW (DPA 2011, p. 21), 4.4% of the population has currently or previously been diagnosed with diabetes and ‘1.6% of the allocatable recurrent health expenditure’(NHPAC 2006), was used towards diabetes between 2000 and 2001. Such statistics support the decision of the Australian health minister to include diabetes as one of the national health priority areas (NHPAC 2006) and highlight the importance of health screening and health promotion.
In order to decrease the prevalence of the disease it is important to understand the aetiology in order to address preventative factors of diabetes mellitus. Marieb and Hoehn (2010, p. 622), affirm that the disease of diabetes mellitus is a ‘homeostatic imbalance’ which ‘results from...