What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin that is produced is not being used effectively. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and is required to help control the glucose level in the blood. If the insulin is not working correctly then the level of glucose in the body will go up. As insulin is required to allow the glucose to the enter the cells of the body, the cells do not receive enough glucose and become starved.
Current statistics suggest that there are in excess of 3 million people who are diagnosed as diabetic. It is also estimated that there are at least 1 million more people who have diabetes, but do not know it. The number of people diagnosed as diabetic is higher now than in previous years.
Generally it is recognised that there are 2 main types of diabetes. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a lot less common than type 2 and usually develops in children and young adults. It is currently thought that type 1 diabetes occurs as a result of the body’s immune system destroying the insulin producing cells. This results in them not be able to make insulin and the blood glucose level rising.
Type 2 diabetes is more common middle-age to old age and typically develops over the age of around 40. Although certain ethnics backgrounds are biologically more prone to diabetes at an earlier age. Typically people who are overweight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as the body has too much fat and more glucose is produced when it is not needed.
How can you ‘spot it’?
Typically someone who should be checked for diabetes would be someone who has any of the following symptoms:
- increased thirst
- passing more urine, particularly at night
- unexplained/unexpected weightloss
- blurred vision
- those diagnosed with glaucoma
- slow healing of wounds
- extreme tiredness
People often ignore many of these signs and symptoms as being part of the natural ageing process. These symptoms tend to happen gradually over time, the person puts it down to ageing and does not get a diagnosis.
Undiagnosed diabetes, in the long term can cause heart problems, eye problems and kidney problems amongst other things.