Diabetes simply means having high levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It is a health condition which is caused by poor or no ability of the body to break down glucose which we consume on daily basis. According to diabetes.org.uk there are 3.3 million in the UK diagnosed with Diabetes and an extra 590,000 who have the condition, but don’t know it. On a worldwide scale 9% of the population (estimated at 347 million people) aged 18+ have the condition (WHO, 2015).
Type 1 diabetes is when your body does not produce any insulin, the hormone which breaks down sugar in our body. Usually, people diagnosed with type 1 were either born that way or have been diagnosed in their childhood or early adulthood with it. People with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin and need insulin injections/pump to regulate their sugar levels within a healthy range.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition when the body produces insulin, however, cannot use it efficiently. It, usually, occurs in adults above the age of 40 and is linked to obesity, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet. If not managed adequately diabetes can lead to slower wound healing, leg ulcers, visual impairment including blindness, kidney failure, and cardiovascular problems.
Gestational diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy. Even though their body produces insulin it is not enough to break down all the sugar consumed. This type of diabetes ends after the baby is born, however, it is a sign that there is a higher risk for these women to develop diabetes Type 2 later on in life.
Prevention and management of diabetes type 2 includes a healthy diet, healthy weight, lots of exercise and monitoring your sugar levels. Sometimes, medications and insulin injections might be necessary.