Diabetes is a life-long (chronic) metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar levels. The uptake of blood sugar by cells in the body is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. Cells in the body need the sugar as fuel. In Diabetes, the production of insulin does not work properly. Without insulin, sugar cannot enter the cells, and it stays in the blood, leading to high blood sugar levels and symptoms of Diabetes such as increased thirst, frequent need to pee, being extremely hungry, feeling fatigued and irritable, slow-healing sores and frequent infections. Diabetes can lead to long-term damage of the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidney and nerves. This increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, loss of eyesight, and nerve damage in the feet. It therefore is crucial that diabetes is monitored and managed well.
There are 2 types of Diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. In Type 1 Diabetes, the body’s own immune system is attacking and destroying the cells in the body that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes often starts in childhood or adolescence, and people living with Type 1 Diabetes need daily injections of Insulin. Type 2 Diabetes is the more common form of Diabetes, and often starts in adulthood. In Type 2 Diabetes, the cells that produce insulin don’t produce enough, or the cells in the body don’t react to insulin anymore. Type 2 Diabetes can be managed through a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, as well as diabetes medications or insulin.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Diabetes. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes (accessed 1. August 2020)
- NHS UK. Diabetes. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/ (accessed 1. August 2020)
- Mayo Clinic. Diabetes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444 (accessed 1. August 2020)