Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of sugar in the blood is above the normal. This is because insulin in not working as it would in someone that does not have the condition. Insulin is hormone in our body that is produced by the pancreas and has two main functions:

For people that have Diabetes, the pancreas either cannot make enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin properly. As a result, accumulation of glucose (sugar) in the blood occurs in abnormally high levels. Glucose in the bloodstream comes from the digestion of starchy foods (carbohydrates). Glucose also comes from the liver. In order for the body to be healthy, we need glucose as it is the primary source of energy for our body and our brain to function. However, glucose cannot stay in the blood stream and in order for it to go into our cells, insulin needs to work properly which is the key missing factor in Diabetes!

Diabetes is categorised into three main types:

1- Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes was formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent Diabetes. This type of Diabetes develops very quickly, usually over a few weeks, and symptoms will be very obvious most of the time. Type 1 Diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Nobody knows for sure why these cells have been damaged and there are different reasons that have been proposed.

This form of Diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, but can occur at any age. People with Type 1 Diabetes must take daily insulin injections to survive.

2- Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes was formerly called adult-onset or non insulin-dependent diabetes. This type of Diabetes develops slowly and the symptoms are less severe. For many people it will go unnoticed and undiagnosed for a period of years developing when the body no longer responds normally to its own insulin (known as insulin resistance) or when the body does not produce enough insulin from the pancreas.

This form of Diabetes usually occurs in older people, overweight individuals, and people who have a family history. Nevertheless, it is increasingly becoming more common in the younger population, particularly adolescents, as they are becoming more overweight and are lacking a healthy diet and lifestyle. Type 2 Diabetes can be treated with diet, exercise, tablets and injectable anti-diabetic medications, including insulin. Insulin injections may be necessary at a later stage of the disease if the pancreas is not producing enough insulin for the body’s needs.

3- Gestational Diabetes

During pregnancy, the body produces hormones or chemical that will counteract the effect of insulin; this means that more insulin is needed to keep the blood sugar levels in the body at a normal range. If not enough insulin is produced to do this, blood sugar levels will rise and Diabetes will develop during pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes is more common in women who are overweight but may develop in other situations. These include: