What is Diabetes?
Basic explanation on Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood is too high. In people without diabetes, a hormone, insulin, is produced by the pancreas which assists glucose to enter cells in the body.
In people with diabetes, either:
- the pancreas has stopped producing insulin
- the pancreas may not be making enough insulin, or
- the insulin may not be working properly
What are the types of Diabetes?
There are 2 types of diabetes:
Type 1: This type of diabetes is mostly predominant before the age of 40, especially in very young individuals, although it is sometimes seen in older individuals. It develops when the body stops or is unable to make any insulin. Individuals with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections.
Type 2: This type of diabetes develops when insulin is produced, but is either not working properly or there is not enough being produced. It appears mostly in individuals over 40, although it can appear in younger individuals as well. Individuals with type 2 diabetes can be treated with healthy eating and activity, tablets or insulin.
For information on other forms of diabetes, see Diabetes UK.
What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes?
- have a family history of diabetes
- are overweight
- are inactive or have an inactive lifestyle
- are of South Asian, African or Afro-Caribbean origin
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
- Increased thirst or drinking more than usual
- Passing water or visiting the loo more often - especially at night
- Extreme tiredness
- Losing weight involuntarily
- Blurred vision
- Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
- Slow healing of wounds
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your nurse or GP for a diabetes test. Treating diabetes early would lead to less complications at a later stage.
What happens if my diabetes is left untreated?
If your diabetes is not controlled, the glucose in your blood can cause damage to your blood vessels. This could lead to:
- poor circulation especially in the feet
- heart disease
- kidney damage
- nerve damage
- eye damage
If you have just been diagnosed with Diabetes, you are not alone! Why not be a member of Diabetes UK?