There are two forms of Diabetes:
Diabetes Insipidus, which is the much less common version,
Diabetes Millitus, which is the more common form.
Diabetes Millitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, chapattis, yams and plantain, from sugar and other sweet foods, and from the liver which makes glucose.
Insulin is vital for life. It is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body. In short, Insulin counteracts the glucose.
Within this form of Diabetes, there are two main types TYPE 1 and TYPE 2
TYPE 1 Diabetes
Develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin. This type of Diabetes usually appears before the age of 40. However, it is he least common form of the two main types and accounts for between 5—15% of all people with Diabetes.
TYPE 2 Diabetes
Develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). In most cases this is linked with being overweight. It usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian and African-Caribbean people often appears after the age of 25. However, recently more children are being diagnosed with the condition, some as young as 7. Type 2 is the most common of the two main types and accounts for between 85—95% of all people with Diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
All forms of Diabetes have identifiable symptoms. The most common types have causes and associated risk factors. Diabetes Symptoms and signs are:-
- Increased thirst.
- Going to the loo (for a wee) all the time—especially at night.
- Extreme tiredness.
- Weight loss.
- Blurred vision.
- Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush.
- Slow healing of wounds.
In Type 1 Diabetes the signs and symptoms will usually be very obvious, developing quickly, usually over a few weeks.
People with Type 2 Diabetes they will not be so obvious or even non-existent with it. If you’re older you may put the symptoms down to “age”. Taking early action is key so if any symptoms apply to you, ask your GP for a Diabetes test.
Causes and Risk Factors:-
Type 1 Diabetes develops when the insulin producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Nobody knows for sure why these cells have been damaged but the most likely cause is an abnormal reaction of the body to the cells. This may be triggered by a viral or other infection.
Type 2 Diabetes – if you are White and over 40, or if you are Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group and over 25 and have one or more of the following risk factors, you should ask to your GP for a test for Diabetes.
- A close member of your family has Type 2 Diabetes (parent, brother or sister).
- You’re overweight – waist sizes of 31.5” or over for a woman
- – waist sizes of 35” or over for Asian men
- – waist sizes of 37” or over for White or Black men
- You have high blood pressure or have had a heart attack or stroke.
- You’re a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and you are overweight.
- You’ve been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia.
- If you’re a woman and you’ve had gestational diabetes (can occur during pregnancy).
- You have severe mental health problems.
There are now some concerns over high cholesterol levels and Diabetes.
African-Caribbean or South Asian people who live in the UK are at least 5 times more likely to have Diabetes than the White population.
Treatment & Myths about Diabetes
Although Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be treated successfully. There are also some common myths surrounding the condition.
Type 1 Diabetes is treated by insulin injections, the use of healthy diet and exercise. Insulin cannot be taken orally as it is destroyed by the digestive juices in the stomach. People with this type commonly take either two or four injections of insulin each day. The insulin injections are vital to keep you alive and you must have them every day.
Type 2 Diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes — healthier diet, weight loss and exercise — tablets and/or insulin may also be required to achieve normal blood glucose levels. There are several kinds of tablets for people with type 2 Diabetes, some help the pancreas produce more insulin whilst others help the body to make better use of the insulin that your pancreas does produce. Another type of tablet slows down the speed which the body absorbs glucose from the intestine.
The Doctor will decide what kind is best for the individual and might prescribe more than one tablet. Type 2 Diabetes is progressive and if it cannot be controlled by methods already outlined the use of insulin injections maybe necessary.
The main aim of treatment of both types of Diabetes is to achieve blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as near to normal as possible, thus protecting long term damage to major organs and arteries.
Diabetes cannot be caught from someone else – there seems to be a genetic link.
Eating too much sugar does not cause Diabetes – it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Too much sugar and fat can cause you to be overweight, which can assist the onset of Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes is not a mild version – with this form the body is still able to produce some insulin. All diabetes is equally serious.
People with Diabetes do not eventually go blind – good control of blood glucose and blood pressure and taking exercise can prevent complications with major organs.
People with Diabetes are safe to drive – provided the Diabetes is well controlled people with the condition are no less safe when driving than anyone else.
People with Diabetes are no more likely to get colds than anyone else – However, Diabetics are advised to get flu jabs as infection interferes with the blood glucose control, which in type 1 there is an increase risk of ketoacidosis.
Diabetic can eat all types of food – even sweets and chocolate can be eaten if it forms part of a healthy diet.
Having Diabetes does not restrict the type of job that can be done – Despite the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Diabetics still face blanket bans in some areas of employment.
MORE INFORMATION ON DIABETES CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIABETES UK WEBSITE www.diabetes.org.uk If you have any concerns about Diabetes, please contact your GP.