Posted on 04 March 2013 by admin
Diabetes is a common health problem, which is becoming more prevalent in the UK. There are two forms of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is much more common and it is heavily linked to lifestyle factors, while type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, which many people are born with and has nothing to do with their diet or lifestyle. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to control blood sugar levels as a result of not producing enough insulin (a hormone, which is produced by the pancreas and is responsible for controlling blood glucose levels) or the cells not responding to insulin.
Many cases of type 2 diabetes are associated with lifestyle factors and risk factors include:
- being overweight or obese (having a BMI of more than 25 or 30 respectively)
- having family history of diabetes
- having a poor diet
- age: the risk increases with age
- heritage: people with Middle Eastern, African-Caribbean or South Asian heritage are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
What are the signs and symptoms?
Diabetes is a very serious condition, which requires close monitoring and effective management; it is important that patients who think they may have diabetes see their doctor so that the condition can be diagnosed and appropriate treatment arranged as early as possible.
Symptoms to look out for include:
- feeling thirsty on a regular basis
- going to the toilet frequently to urinate, especially at night
- weight loss and loss of muscle mass
- feeling tired and lethargic
Often, symptoms are very mild and they may be associated with other health problems; for this reason, many people wait to see a doctor and the figures for the number of people affected by diabetes may actually be much higher due to the fact that people are undiagnosed.
Additional symptoms may also include itchiness around the genitals, cramps, thrush and blurred vision.
What happens if diabetes is not controlled?
If diabetes is not managed properly it can be very serious; without the right treatment, blood sugar levels will be unstable and this can cause hyperglycaemia, which occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. Symptoms of hyperglycaemia include dizziness, blurred vision, feeling drowsy, urinating frequently and dry mouth. Complications of diabetes include dental health problems, foot problems and issues related to vision.