Project Description

Your Health: Diabetes

So what is diabetes? It is a long-term condition that causes excess glucose (sugar) to be in the blood. All the carbs we eat are turned into glucose, which is then used for energy. A hormone made in the pancreas called insulin is responsible for utilising glucose and getting it into the cells of our body. To illustrate: If we are a car and petrol is the glucose, insulin is the petrol pump, so without insulin our body cells will not receive the fuel they need and there will be a build-up of glucose in our blood.

When there is excess glucose in the bloodstream, the body will respond to remove it, so a person will become thirsty, drink more and urinate more. Some of the other symptoms of diabetes are tiredness, hunger and weight loss.

There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is where no insulin is produced by the body and type 2 is where the body does not produce enough insulin for normal glucose levels or the body cannot effectively use the insulin that is being produced.

Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 and around 10% of people with diabetes have this type. It is also known as insulin-dependent, juvenile or early-onset diabetes because it usually develops before the age of 40, often during teenage years. Type 1 diabetics need regular insulin injections to manage their diabetes.

Type 2 generally occurs over the age of 40, however, in recent years this line is being blurred and we are now seeing a younger generation developing type 2 diabetes, more so in South Asian and African-Caribbean ethnicity. Depending on the severity of the disease it is managed by exercise, diet, medication and/or insulin injections.

There are many complications associated with diabetes such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage and lower limb amputations to name just a few.  

These risks can be lowered by closely controlling blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. Having a healthy diet, regular exercise and not smoking is important too. This is also true for lowering the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes in the first place.

Looking at the risk factors of Type 2 diabetes

You are overweight – over 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

You have a large waist (more than 80cm/31.5 inches in women, 94 cm/37 inches in men or more than 90cm/35 inches in Asian men)

Being of south Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK) increases risk

You have a parent, brother or sister, son or daughter with Type 2 diabetes

Higher risk of diabetes if you have ever had high blood pressure

You’ve had a heart attack or a stroke

Eating an unhealthy diet

Physical inactivity

Age, the older you are, the greater the risk. However there has been a significant increase in children with diabetes, thought to be related to childhood obesity.

See links below for more articles or click on images on the right (or below for smaller screens) for Article Categories.

 

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YEARS OF PRACTICE 17
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Alcolhol Category image of wine being poured into glasses
cardiovascular category image with a hand holding a landscape mobile shape piece of glass with a red heart and white pulse graph
Diabetes
Exercise category image of a silhouette of a woman running with background stunning orange sunset
Food category image of a plate of cooked salmon with a dressed salad and wedge of lemon
smoking category image showing smoke with a black background