About diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes – occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. It usually starts in young people under the age of 30, including very young children and infants, and the onset is sudden and dramatic. People who have type 1 diabetes must inject insulin to survive. Insulin dosages are carefully balanced with food intake and exercise programmes.

Type 2 diabetes – is caused when the insulin, which the pancreas produces, is either not enough or does not work properly. Approximately 85 – 90% of all people with diabetes are type 2, and many people who have this condition are undiagnosed.

Most type 2’s are over 40. They are usually overweight and do not exercise. Type 2 diabetes may be treated successfully without medication. Often loss of weight alone will reduce glucose levels. Eating patterns and exercise play important roles in management. Tablets may be prescribed to help improve control, however, many type 2’s will eventually use insulin.

Although type 2 is, in itself, not life threatening, in many ways it is more dangerous than type 1, as it’s onset is gradual and hard to detect. High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause serious damage to the delicate parts of the body and lead to blindness, heart attack\stroke, kidney failure, impotence and amputation.

Gestational diabetes – is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. Both mother and child have an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes include the following:

  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent or recurring infections
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, boils and itching skin
    Tingling and numbness in the hands or feet.

However, many people who have type 2 diabetes may show no symptoms

Is Diabetes Serious?
There is no such thing as ‘mild’ diabetes. Diabetes is always serious. If it is left untreated or is not well managed, the high levels of blood glucose associated with diabetes can slowly damage both the fine nerves and the small and large blood vessels in the body, resulting in a variety of complications.
These include heart disease, blindness, amputation, kidney disease and erectile dysfunction or impotence. The good news is that with careful management, these complications can be delayed and even prevented, but early diagnosis is very important.
You need to know what the symptoms of diabetes are and whether you are at risk.