According to www.diabetes.co.uk, since 1996, the number of people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 1.4 million to 3.5 million. It is also predicted that up to 549,000 people have the condition but are yet to be diagnosed.
The amount of sugar in our blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into the cells when food is digested and enters your blood stream. It is broken down to produce energy.
People with diabetes are unable to break down glucose into energy, because there is either not enough insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin and type 2, where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or its cells don’t react to it.
The main symptoms of diabetes include:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Using the toilet more often, particularly at night
- Feeling tired
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Cuts or wounds that take a long time to heal.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually occur in childhood/young adulthood and is not preventable.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common and occurs mainly in adulthood. It is often linked to being overweight. It is preventable and can be managed by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and giving up smoking or drinking alcohol.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, it is advised that you contact your GP as soon as possible.
You can read our blog on reducing the risks of developing diabetes later in life here.