Diabetes - What is it?
Diabetes mellitus is common condition which affects about
1.4 million people in the UK – that’s about 3 in every 100
people. There are about 12,000 people with diabetes in
Who does it affect?
can affect anyone.
There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type
2, but 8 out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
can occur at any age but mainly arises in children and younger adults.
The risk of Type 2 diabetes increases with age, usually
developing over the age of 30 but it is seen in younger people. People
with a family history of diabetes, those who are overweight or have
had diabetes in pregnancy have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
It is more common in those of Asian or African-Caribbean origin.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition
in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because
the body cannot use it properly. Glucose is a sugar and is one of the
main sources of energy in the body.
Diabetes happens because the body’s method of converting glucose
into energy is not working as it should. When the body is functioning
normally a hormone called insulin carefully controls the amount of glucose
in our blood. Insulin is produced by a gland called the pancreas which
lies just behind the stomach. Insulin helps the glucose to enter the
cells where it can be used as fuel by the body.
Normally the body can
produce enough insulin to keep the amount of glucose in the blood under
control. If there is a lack of insulin because the pancreas gland is
not making enough for the body’s needs then the blood glucose level
What are the Symptoms?
most common symptoms include:
Excessive thirst and a dry mouth
Increased production of urine
Infection/itching of the genitals
is a progressive condition and the treatment needed to control it properly
will need to be adjusted over time.
Diet, exercise and weight control
are very important.
People with Type 1 diabetes always need insulin.
People with Type 2 usually start on tablets but many require insulin
with time. Your type of diabetes and your full treatment plan should
always be discussed with you by your health care team.
Seeking advice and what care to
If you think you might have diabetes, don’t just
sit and worry about it. Go and see you doctor. A simple blood test
will give the answer.
If you find you have diabetes, you can expect
to get lots of advice and help, as well as prompt treatment. You
should soon be feeling back to good health.