Diabetes is a serious condition in which your blood glucose level is abnormally high. It can occur when your body does not produce enough insulin or cannot produce any at all.
The video below by Diabetes UK gives an overview of the condition.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes is categorised into two types: type 1 and type 2.
When you have type 1 diabetes, your body is unable to produce any insulin. It’s a little different if you have type 2 diabetes. Either your insulin isn’t operating correctly or you’re not producing enough of it. They are two distinct conditions, but they are both serious.
Glucose cannot enter your cells properly in all types of diabetes, so it accumulates in your blood. Having too much glucose in your blood causes a variety of issues and leads to diabetes symptoms.
Both types of diabetes cause people to have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood.
As the carbohydrates we consume or drink are broken down, our bodies produce glucose. Glucose is then released into the bloodstream.
Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas that allows glucose in our blood to reach our cells and fuel our bodies.
If you don’t have diabetes, your pancreas detects the presence of glucose in your bloodstream and releases the appropriate amount of insulin to allow the glucose to reach your cells. However, if you have diabetes, this system will not function for you.
Symptoms of diabetes
Some common symptoms are:
•Frequently using the bathroom, particularly at night
•Feeling more thirsty
•Feeling more tired than normal.
•Losing weight without trying to.
•Itching or thrush in the genital region.
•Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
Ethnicity and Type 2 Diabetes
Research shows people from Black African, African Caribbean and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes at a younger age.
Insulin resistance is more common in people from South Asian backgrounds.
Insulin resistance occurs when insulin does not work properly, increasing the risk of elevated blood sugar levels.
High blood glucose levels can cause severe damage to your heart, eyes, feet, and kidneys over a long period of time.
People can live a healthy life with the right treatment and care and the risk of experiencing these complications will reduce.
Reducing your risk
Making healthy food choices, such as consuming more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, yoghurt, and cheese, and avoiding processed foods, can all reduce your risk.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important if you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as obesity is the leading cause of the disease.
Myth: Type 2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes
There is no such thing as mild diabetes. All diabetes is serious and, if not properly controlled, can lead to serious complications.
Myth: People with diabetes cannot have sugar
Having diabetes does not mean you have to have a sugar-free diet. People with diabetes should follow a healthy balanced diet – that is low in fat, salt and sugar.
Myth: People with diabetes should eat ‘diabetic’ foods
‘Diabetic’ labelling tends to be used on sweets, biscuits and similar foods that are generally high in fat, especially saturated fat and calories. They still affect your blood glucose levels, they are expensive and they can give you diarrhoea.
Myth: People with diabetes eventually go blind
Although diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK, research has proved you can reduce your chances of developing diabetes complications – such as damage to your eyes – if you:
control your blood pressure, glucose, and blood fat levels
maintain your ideal body weight
give up smoking.
Myth: People with diabetes can’t play sport
People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active can help reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease.
Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat grapes, mangoes or bananas
People sometimes think that if they have diabetes they can’t eat grapes and bananas as they taste sweet. But if you eat a diet that includes these fruits, you can still achieve good blood glucose control. In fact, grapes and bananas, like all fruit, make a very healthy choice.
Fruit is high in fibre, low in fat and full of vitamins and minerals. It helps to protect against heart disease, cancer and certain stomach problems.
Source of information and thanks to Diabetes UK https://www.diabetes.org.uk/