Diabetes Mellitus, as it is known in full, is a common, long-lasting health condition that arises from too much glucose in the blood. There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes, which can occur during pregnancy.
Glucose is a type of sugar that comes from most of the food we eat. It’s also produced by the liver and is our body’s main source of energy.
The level of glucose in our blood is regulated by a hormone called insulin. Insulin stimulates cells to absorb enough glucose from the blood for the energy we need. Insulin also stimulates the liver to absorb and store any excess glucose that’s left over.
Insulin is made by a gland called the pancreas, which lies just behind your stomach. Insulin allows glucose to move from the blood into the body’s millions of cells to then be converted into energy needed for daily life.
People who have diabetes have problems with insulin production. In some cases, they won’t produce insulin at all, or they not produce enough insulin. In other cases, the insulin they do produce does not work properly. This results in a build up of glucose in your blood, instead of moving it into the cells.
If this happens for a prolonged period, it can cause other health issues including heart disease, kidney disease or vision problems. The is why it’s so important to regularly test your glucose levels.
It is estimated there are 3.5 million people in the UK with diabetes. A further 549,000 people are believed to have diabetes without knowing it. The vast majority of people with diabetes (approximately 90%) have Type 2 diabetes. This figure is expected to reach 5 million by 2025.
Prediabetes (or Borderline Diabetes) occurs when your blood sugars are higher than normal but they aren’t yet high enough to be classified as diabetes. According to a Health Survey for England, 1 in 3 adults are ‘on cusp’ of diabetes in the UK.
There aren’t always symptoms of prediabetes and it does put you at a higher risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It is therefore important that you check your glucose levels if you are at risk.
Whilst there isn’t a cure for diabetes, you can make lifestyle changes to reduce risks associated with it. You can also take measures to reverse prediabetes with healthy choices.
Knowledge is power so make sure you find out more about the symptoms and measures you can take.
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