Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
It has two types, which include:
Type 1 – This is when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
Type 2 – This is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.
It is known that type 2 is much more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2. During pregnancy, women may have such high levels of blood glucose that their body won’t be able to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is called Gestational Diabetes.
When is it best to see a doctor?
If you are to experience any of these main symptoms it is important to visit your GP:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Urinating more frequently
- Feeling very tired
- Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
- Blurred vision
Type 1 diabetes can be developed extremely quickly, it could take weeks or even days. However, many people are unaware that they have type 2 diabetes until years after. This is because the early symptoms happen to be general.
What causes diabetes?
A hormone called insulin controls the amount of sugar in the blood, which is produced in the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach). When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into the cells, this is where it is then broken down to produce energy.
However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down the glucose into energy. This is due to there either not being enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly. Even though there are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1, type 2 is often linked to being over weight.
How to live with diabetes
Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it is important that you start eating more healthy foods, take regular exercise and carry out blood tests regularly to ensure your blood glucose levels stay balanced. A BMI healthy weight calculator is a great way to check whether you are a healthy weight. However, people who have been diagnosed with type 1 also require regular insulin injections for the rest of their life. Due to type 2 being a progressive condition, medication may eventually be required, usually in the form of tablets.
If you feel you may need any advice, and you feel you may have diabetes, you will need to go and speak to your GP.