Diabetes Awareness Week 2016: 12-18 June

Diabetes Awareness Week 2016

Setting the record straight

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a common health condition caused by either inadequate or absent levels of the hormone insulin, which then results in high levels of glucose in the blood.

Did you know?

The word diabetes is derived from Greek and means ‘a siphoning of water through the body’.

Types of diabetes

Type 1 – This develops when the insulin-producing cells have been destroyed by the body’s immune system and the body is therefore unable to produce any insulin. It usually appears before the age of 40, especially in childhood and may be triggered by a viral or other type of infection.

Type 2 – This develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that it does produce doesn’t work properly.  It usually appears in people over 40, though in South Asian people who are at greater risk, it can appear from the age of 25.  It is becoming increasingly common in children and young people of all ethnicities.

This is treated with a healthy diet and regular physical activity, but medication and/or insulin is often required.

You are more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if:

  • you’re overweight or have a high Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • you have a large waist (more than 80cm/31.5 inches in women, 94 cm/37 inches in men or 90cm/35 inches in South Asian men)
  • you’re from an African-Caribbean, Black African, Chinese or South Asian background and over 25
  • you’re from another ethnic background and over 40
  • you have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • you have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke
  • you have a history of polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby over 10 pounds/4.5kg
  • you suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar illness or depression, or you are taking anti-psychotic medication

Diabetes UK has an online self-assessment regarding risk which can be found here.

Symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes

  • passing urine frequently (especially at night)
  • unexplained weight loss
  • increased thirst
  • slow healing of wounds
  • increased lethargy
  • blurred vision

Follow this link for further facts and to read some common myths about diabetes.

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