What is Diabetes?

Updated: May 3

There's two types of diabetes 1 and 2 both have different characteristics, slightly different causes and treatment methods.


Insulin is released by the pancreas when food is digested and goes into the blood stream this moves glucose out of the blood and into the cells where it is then broken down to produce energy.


When the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or anyway all glucose builds up causing high blood sugar.


Although the development of both 1 and 2 are not known the causes differ.



Type 1 is Insulin Dependent also known as Juvenile or early onset.

The body becomes unable to break down glucose because the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin and this is why the blood sugar levels rise.


The cause of type 1 is reported to be environmentally triggered, hereditary, genetic or triggered by trauma or a virus which targets the immune system causing it to kill off it's insulin producing cells.


Those diagnosed with type 1 are usually prescribed insulin injections for the rest of their lives and they will need to pay attention to their daily health and lifestyle and make sure their blood sugar levels are kept well under control.



Type 2 is when the body can still produce some insulin but not enough or the body is insulin resistant. Risk factors are reported to be over 40, smokers, polycystic ovary syndrome exessive alchohol, shock, trauma virus, drug abuse, obese or overweight. Asian or Afro Caribbean, inactive, heart disease, high blood pressure or other poor lifestyle choices.


Type 2 can be progressive and if not managed correctly may need medication to control it. Treatment of type 2 to may come in the form of tablets, diet and exercise implementation and regular blood sugar level checks.


Some of the symptoms of type 1 and 2 are:

Frequent urination especially night times

Thirsty

Unexplained weight loss or gain

Thrush

Genital itching

Blurred vision

Slow healing of cuts and injury


The onset of type 1 symptoms are usually very fast and noticeable from the offset with type 2 being not as obvious slowly developing over several years before tgey become apparent. With both types massive improvements can be made as soon as a treatment program is started and blood sugar levels get under control.


Diabetic Ketoacidosis approximately 1 in four people diagnosed with type 1 are suffering with this potentially life threatening condition. The symptoms include:

Vomiting

Complete loss of appetite

Fruity chemical smell to the breathe

High temperature

Stomach pain


Hypoglycemia

When your being treated with insulin injections you can develop very low blood sugar levels. Symptoms may include:

Confusion

Headache

Slurred speech

Sweaty pale skin

Double vision

Extreme cases unconsciousness

(Where a rapid infusion of glucose would be needed)


10% of cases in the are type 1 so this type is the least common.


In some cases it is unpreventable, it usually developed after the age of 40 and occurs suddenly.


Alot of people go around without noticing they have it but being in an accident, suffering trauma, being inactive for long periods, being overweight, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol intake and smoking seem to increase the risk if developing type 2.


Around 2.9 Million people in the UK alone suffer with type 2 with an increase of 4% per year diagnosed with type 1. According to NHS reports there are 850,000 people undiagnosed and they currently spend 10% of their budget treating it's complications approximately 14 bn pounds a year.


Although its reported there is no cure

some have recovered from type 1 & 2 diabetes, studies show it's possible for some people to reverse it. Through diet changes and fat loss, you may be able to reach and hold normal blood sugar levels without medication. This doesn't mean you're completely cured. Type 2 diabetes is an ongoing disease.