What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels. It occurs when the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that helps transport glucose from the bloodstream into the body's cells, where it is used for energy. Without proper insulin function, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high, leading to a variety of complications over time.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a specific form of diabetes that typically develops in childhood or adolescence. Unlike type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity and sedentary behaviour, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, individuals with type 1 diabetes rely on insulin injections or an insulin pump to control their blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes glucose. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is typically associated with lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity. In this condition, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to the insulin that is produced. As a result, individuals with type 2 diabetes may need to manage their blood sugar levels through a combination of medication, diet, and exercise.
- 4.7 million people in the UK have diabetes. That's around 1 in 15 people.
- Someone is diagnosed every three minutes.
- At least 10,000 people in the UK have end stage kidney failure because of their diabetes.
- More than 1,700 people have their sight seriously affected by their diabetes every year in the UK.
- The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in 20 years.
- Around 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. Around 8% have Type 1, and 2% have rarer types.
What causes Diabetes?
The amount of sugar in your blood is controlled by insulin, produced by the pancreas. Insulin allows glucose in our blood to enter the cells. With type 1 diabetes however, the immune system attacks the body's own cells, including insulin producing ones in the pancreas. Those with type 2 still produces insulin but is unable to use it as intended. This then causes a build-up of glucose in the blood
What are some of the symptoms?
- Urinate (pee) a lot, often at night
- Are very thirsty
- Lose weight without trying
- Are very hungry
- Have blurry vision
- Have numb or tingling hands or feet
- Feel very tired
- Have very dry skin
- Have sores that heal slowly
- Have more infections than usual