What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where a person’s cells do not utilise blood sugar as it should or when the pancreas does not release enough insulin which is used to activate cells in the body to utilise sugar. This leads to someone’s blood sugar becoming exceedingly high. This is known as hyperglycaemia. Sustained hyperglycaemia is known as diabetes.
What is the difference between diabetes types?
Diabetes is commonly split into two different types – 1 and 2. Type 1 diabetes is an inherited form of the condition where the body actively attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin which activates cells in the blood to utilise sugar. You are usually born with the condition or develop it during childhood. Those who suffer from type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy as treatment.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s cells become “insulin resistant”. Research suggests that there is a strong correlation between central obesity and insulin resistance. This often occurs due to lifestyle choices such as an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity. Type 2 diabetes is more common in those whose family have a history of diabetes.
Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes to watch out for:
Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for years after developing the condition. It is always useful to check in with a GP or local healthcare professional if you think you may be at risk or have developed type 2 diabetes.
Some common symptoms that undiagnosed diabetics may experience include:
- Feeling thirsty constantly
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Slowly healing cuts and bruises
- Unnaturally quick weight loss and loss of muscle mass
- Yeast infection
- Constant itchiness
- Black, blotchy skin
Type 2 diabetes screening:
Type 2 Diabetes screening is vital in confirming whether or not the symptoms you may be experiencing is as a result of having type 2 diabetes. If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, are overweight or experiencing some of the classic type 2 diabetes symptoms, you should visit a healthcare professional. At our pharmacy, we offer an on-site screening service to test whether you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The pharmacist will take a finger prick sample of blood for a point of care fasting glucose or HbA1c test. Both will confirm whether you are at risk of developing the condition or diabetic already.
Our pharmacists will offer a full consultation and give you bespoke advice on how to:
- Eat healthy
- Become more active
Everyone is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but there are some groups that are at a significantly higher risk.
These groups include:
- Those who are over the age of 40
- Those who have a close relative(s) who has diabetes
- If you are overweight or obese, especially if you have large amounts of fat around your stomach area
- If you currently have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
- If you spend a lot of time sitting down, including your job
- If you regularly smoke
- Those who are of South Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean or black African origin are at a higher risk