Diabetes Awareness Week 7th – 15th June
The information for this blog page has been taken from the Diabetes UK website. For more help and advice, click here to visit their homepage.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a common life-long health condition. There are 3 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 850,000 people who have the condition but don’t know it.
Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. This is because your pancreas does not produce any insulin, or not enough, to help glucose enter your body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).
Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as fuel for energy so we can work, play and generally live our lives. It is vital for life.
Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrate and is also produced by the liver. Carbohydrate comes from many different kinds of foods and drink, including starchy foods such as bread, potatoes and chapatis; fruit; some dairy products; sugar and other sweet foods.
If you have diabetes, your body cannot make proper use of this glucose so it builds up in the blood and isn’t able to be used as fuel
What is Type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin.
Insulin is the key that unlocks the door to the body’s cells. Once the door is unlocked glucose can enter the cells where it is used as fuel. In Type 1 diabetes the body is unable to produce any insulin so there is no key to unlock the door and the glucose builds up in the blood.
Nobody knows for sure why these insulin-producing cells have been destroyed but the most likely cause is the body having an abnormal reaction to the cells. This may be triggered by a virus or other infection. Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age but usually appears before the age of 40, and especially in childhood.
Type 1 diabetes accounts for between 5 and 15 per cent of all people with diabetes and is treated by daily insulin injections, a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
What is Type 2 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).
Insulin acts as a key unlocking the cells, so if there is not enough insulin, or it is not working properly, the cells are only partially unlocked (or not at all) and glucose builds up in the blood.
Type 2 diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in
South Asian and black people, who are at greater risk, it often appears from the age of 25. It is also increasingly becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 85 and 95 per cent of all people with diabetes and is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition to this, medication and/or insulin is often required.
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