Diabetes is a condition that affects over 3 million people in the UK and it is estimated that more than half a million more people are unaware that they also have diabetes!
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar, ie, the glucose concentration, becomes too high.
Is glucose important?
Glucose is vital for life and it is used by the body as a form of fuel for energy and to assist with chemical reactions within the body. We obtain glucose from the food we eat.
How does my body regulate the blood sugar level?
A hormone called insulin is produced in the Pancreas and in the presence of insulin the glucose can be transported from the blood into your cells. If your pancreas no longer produces insulin or the insulin produced is not enough or ineffective then the glucose cannot be transported into the cells and therefore it will remain in the blood and the concentration will increase.
There are two types of diabetes:
Type 2 – the most common form of diabetes
This usually appears in people over 40 years of age although it can occur in younger people and even children. Approximately 90% of people with diabetes will have Type 2 diabetes. It typically develops slowly often over a period of many years so it often remains poorly diagnosed in the early stages. People with a high BMI are thought to be at a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and the onset of this form of diabetes can be delayed or even prevented by switching to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Once present it may also be treated with medication from your GP.
Type 1 – the most serious form of diabetes
This form of diabetes typically occurs in people before the age of 40 and accounts for approximately 10% of all cases of diabetes. It typically develops very quickly and comes on in a matter of days or weeks because the pancreas suddenly stops producing insulin. It is treated by daily injections of insulin. A healthy diet and lifestyle are also important factors in treating Type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms to look out for:
If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms then you may have diabetes and you should consult your doctor who will carry out any tests that may be required.
- Feeling increasingly thirsty / drinking more
- Passing urine more often especially at night time
- Genital itching or repeated episodes of thrush infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision or sudden visual changes
- Feeling of fatigue and tiredness
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