Video Transcript: Diabetes

Read the transcript for our 'Diabetes' video.

Your health is at the centre of your family’s health, so it’s important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to avoid some of the more serious diseases such as diabetes.

Diabetes is a health condition that if not controlled, can result in significant damage to many parts of your body.

For people with diabetes, sugar is not processed properly. There is a hormone in your body called insulin which controls sugar levels to keep the amount of sugar in your blood at the right level. When you have diabetes, your body does not produce enough insulin to process the sugar, which means your blood sugar levels get too high. Over time, high sugar levels can cause damage to your body and failure of organs and tissues.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is the result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. It usually occurs in childhood between the age of 7 and 12 but can happen at any age. It cannot be cured but can be managed with medication and a healthy lifestyle.

Type 2 diabetes is more common and happens when your body can’t use insulin effectively. It usually affects adults between the ages of 30 and 40 years, but there are increasing number of teenagers and children who are developing type 2 diabetes. There is a close association with type 2 diabetes and being overweight; and diabetes may be avoided altogether if lifestyle changes are made early enough. Even after diagnosis it may be cured, especially soon after diagnosis, if the person loses sufficient weight. Bariatric surgery (stomach stapling or balloons) may be an option for some people to assist with weight loss that can lead to diabetes being put into remission, but the person will always remain at risk of a recurrence as they age, and particularly if they put on weight.  For most people, diabetes can be effectively managed through medication and by following a healthy life style, so permanent damage to the body can be avoided. 

Some people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, for example if you:

  • have Diabetes in your family (your parents, brothers, sisters or grandparents)
  • are of Māori, Asian, Middle Eastern or Pacific Island descent (start screening from the age 30 years or older), but people of European descent the age for screening is 40 years and above. Increasing age is a risk factor for all people. 
  • have high blood pressure
  • are overweight (especially if you carry most of your weight around your waist)
  • are pre-diabetic (also known as impaired glucose tolerance)
  • gave birth to a large baby weighing more than 9lbs/4kg, or have had gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)
  • had high blood pressure in pregnancy
  • have had high blood glucose in the past

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed through a blood test. If you think you are at risk, talk to your doctor. You can also take an online test to find out if you’re at risk by visiting

For any other health needs call Healthline on 0800 611 116. Interpreting services will be available if you need them.

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