However, it is possible to manage the symptoms, and even prevent yourself from developing diabetes in the first place.
Some of those three million sufferers will undergo kidney failure and even amputations.
The rising epidemic of diabetes can be avoided, and whether you're at risk, or already have diabetes the menu you should be eating is the same.More stories from Today Tonight
“The new D-Tick has been specifically developed for people at risk of, or who have type 2 diabetes,” nutritionist Susie Burrell explained. “It is similar to the Heart Tick, but better, because it looks at the whole nutrition of the product.”
Six times a day, Nicholas Patriarca tests his blood. The ten-year-old suffers through three painful insulin injections every day.
A quick sugar hit gets things back to normal, or as normal as life can be for a child born with type 1 diabetes.
“Type 1 diabetes is not due to having too many lollies, or the wrong food. It’s an autoimmune condition,” Nicholas’s mum Alycia explained.
Unlike type 1 diabetes - where the body simply fails to produce insulin, the hormone that converts sugar into energy – type 2 diabetes is more likely to be lifestyle related.
Almost all, 90 per cent, of diabetics have type 2. They eat too much sugary food, and the body become resistant to insulin.
By 2050 it's estimated fourteen per cent of the population, or three million Australians will have type 2 diabetes, making it an epidemic of catastrophic proportions.
“If the sugar levels stay too high in the blood stream, then over a period of time that starts to impact on a number of organs of the body, and that can lead to problems with the kidney. It can lead to eye damage, and blindness is one of the complications of diabetes,” Dr Joe Kosterich explained.
According to Dr Kosterich modern western society has become lazy, and it's making us sick.
“We do have to be aware that if we put too much processed foods in our bodies, it won't particularly agree with it, and if you do that over a particular period of time, the body will eventually recoil against it,” Dr Kosterich said.
Jodie Schroder found out eighteen months ago she has type 2 diabetes.
“That was the biggest slap in the face that I could have ever got I think,” Schroder said. “I kind of stuck my head in the sand hoping it would go away, but of course it doesn't go away - it's a chronic disease.”
The way to manage diabetes is also the best way to avoid contracting it in the first place - moderate to intense daily exercise and diet.
“We know that white bread is high GI, so the flour's refined, and it results in an increase in blood glucose levels very quickly. One of the worst things people who are at risk of diabetes, or who have type 2 diabetes can eat is the white bread,” Burrell said.What to eat to avoid or manage diabetes
- Low GI foods
- Brown or grain bread
- Two fruit and five vegies every day
- Lean red meat
- Foods with a D-tick
Don’t forget to mix in some exercise, and we may just hold off a health catastrophe.
Diabetes Australia has asked the Federal Government to introduce a helpline for people at risk of diabetes. So far, their pleas have been ignored.
- Better Homes and Gardens: Celebrities with diabetes
- Prevention Magazine: Tips to detour your diabetes
- Practical Parenting: Rate of childhood diabetes predicted to rise by ten per cent
- Men's Health: Will you get diabetes?
- That's Life: Not so sweet facts about diabetes
- Diabetes Australia - www.diabetesaustralia.com.au
- D-tick - www.d-tick.com.au
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - www.aihw.gov.au
- Dietitian Susie Burrell - www.susieburrell.com.au
This reporter is on Twitter at @BryanSeymour7