What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that we hear about on an almost daily basis. Almost everyone knows someone who is a diabetic, but how many of us actually knows what it means?

The classic sign of diabetes is high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Our bodies depend on glucose for energy, and a hormone called insulin is responsible for regulating our blood glucose levels.

In diabetics, the body does not produce enough insulin to properly regulate blood glucose.

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes:

– can occur at any age
– common amongst children
– caused by autoimmune destruction of insulin-making cells, meaning insulin is not produced

Type 2 diabetes:

– generally occurs after age 40, but can occur earlier
– normally caused by insufficient insulin or ineffective insulin
– the vast majority (85-90%) of all cases are Type 2 diabetes
– often connected to obesity
– thought to be hereditary

The symptoms of high blood glucose to look out for are:

– serious tiredness
– serious thirst
– blurry vision

If you think you or someone you know may have diabetes, it is very important to get them medically assessed straight away.

Sometimes the onset of Type 1 diabetes can be extremely sudden, and can come about in a medical emergency known as keto acidosis. If this happens you must seek imminent medical help.

The symptoms to watch for:

– weight loss
– loss of appetite
– vomiting
– excessive urination
– altered consciousness

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