What is it?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition where the blood glucose level in somebody’s blood is abnormally high. There are two main types Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes and the differences between them are explained below.
How common is it?
In the UK Diabetes affects around 3 million people although there are probably a further 850,000 people who have not yet been diagnosed but have the condition.
In this the much more common form affecting 90% of all adults with diabetes the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells in the body become less sensitive to the action of insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. This form of diabetes is often associated with being over-weight.
In this form the immune system of the body attacks and destroys the cells inside the pancreas gland which produce insulin. Because no insulin at all is produced the glucose blood levels increase dramatically which can significantly damage the bodies organs. It affects about 10% of all people with diabetes most of them developing the condition under the age of 40 and in childhood and people with this type will need insulin injections for the rest of their lives.
In either type the body is unable to use glucose and turn it into energy. This is either because there is insufficient insulin to move the glucose into the cells of the body or the insulin that is produced does not work properly because the tissues of the body have become resistant to the action of the insulin.
Symptoms include excessive urination, excessive thirst, tiredness, blurring of vision, frequent skin infections and loss of weight.
Both types may be diagnosed in a number of different ways. These include the recognition of the symptoms followed by investigations including random blood glucose tests, fasting blood glucose tests and oral glucose tolerance tests where blood glucose levels are measured at intervals following the ingestion of a specially designed glucose drink.
Blood sugar test Lifestyle changes such as eating more healthily and taking more exercise are important but people with this condition often need extra treatment such as oral medication in the form of tablets to control not only their raised sugar levels but also their blood pressure and blood fats. There are many different types of tablets which work in different ways and although they do not cure they can certainly control it in conjunction with self-monitoring of blood glucose levels. People with Type 1 Diabetes and people with more severe forms of Type 2 Diabetes may also require insulin injections.
Living with diabetes
The initial diagnosis may seem overwhelming but with the help of your Diabetic Health Care Team there is no reason why most people with Diabetes cannot live normal happy lives. The lifestyle that needs to be adopted is in fact a very healthy life style for everybody whether they have Diabetes or not and even if people have to have insulin injections people can soon learn to come to terms with them and treat them as a matter of course. Complications can however arise which may threaten their independence and general health.
Dr Hilary Jones
Useful Information Telecare24 Careline Services have proved invaluable for many people with Diabetes as it enables them to stay living independently and safely in their own home whilst remaining in touch around the clock with loved ones and if necessary emergency services. Highly trained, polite and helpful operators work 365 days a year 24 hours a day to provide the fastest response times compared to other providers. The Telecare24 Careline Services comes highly recommended. Click here or call 0800 180 8540 for more information. Dr Hilary Jones is also a spokesperson for Diabetes.co.uk, the largest patient to patient community in Europe with over 100,000 forum members affected by the condition. Diabetes.co.uk are also founders of a ground-breaking management programme for those with Type 2, allowing users to self-monitor blood glucose levels and take control of the condition – visit www.Type2Testing.com The largest forum in the UK is now available as a Smartphone App with the free Diabetes Forum App and diabetes management system. To find out more please visit www.diabetes.co.uk