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Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition where glucose (sugar in the blood) is too high for the body. The reason for this is that the body does not use the glucose properly.

There are 2 different types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes – the body cannot make insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes – the body makes some insulin but not enough for the body, or the insulin does not work properly. This is much more common of the two types.

Symptoms to recognise diabetes include:

  • Person feeling more thirsty than usual
  • Person going to the toilet often (especially at night)
  • Person feeling very tired
  • Person losing weight
  • Person having problems with genitals – e.g. itchiness, thrush appearing again and again
  • Wounds/scars healing slowly

There is a higher risk of getting Type 2 diabetes for those:

  • with a mother, father, brother or sister who has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes
  • who are overweight
  • with high blood pressure, a problem with blood circulation, or have already suffered a heart attack and/or stroke
  • (for women) who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS - i.e. small cysts in ovaries and eggs may not be released every month) as well as being overweight
  • who have already got one of the following medical conditions - impaired glucose tolerance (higher levels of glucose in the blood but not high enough to be diabetes) or impaired fasting glycaemia (glucose cannot be controlled properly in the body)
  • (for women) who had babies and had diabetes only when they were pregnant (gestational diabetes)
  • with severe mental health problems

The risk of getting Type 2 diabetes is higher for people who are over 40 years old for those who are white. For black and Asian people, the risk is higher for those who are over 25. People of African-Caribbean, south Asian, and other ethnic minority origins are 5 times more at risk of getting diabetes than white people living in the UK.

Not all people who are overweight have diabetes but the risk for them is quite high. Statistics show that 80% of people who have Type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Diabetes cannot be cured, but they can be controlled if properly treated. Early treatment will help prevent serious health problems later in life, e.g. damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. Once treated, the symptoms of both types of diabetes will disappear.

For those with Type 1 diabetes, the condition can be treated with insulin injections along with healthier eating and regular exercise. Many people with Type 1 diabetes must have injections 2 or 4 times a day to help control the diabetes and to stay alive.

For those with Type 2 diabetes, they need to ensure they eat healthily, keep their weight down and exercise regularly. They may also need to take either tablets or injections to make sure the blood glucose level remains ‘normal’. If the person is unable to change their lifestyle, he/she may need to take insulin injections.


Check out the other sections below...

Contraception
Contraception
Drugs
Drugs
Money Management
Money Management
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Volunteering
Volunteering
Skin Cancer and the Sun
Skin Cancer and the Sun
Smoking
Smoking
Alcohol
Alcohol
Diabetes
Diabetes
Obesity
Obesity