World Diabetes Week brings millions of people around the world together to raise awareness of diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and early death.
There are 2 main types of diabetes:
- type 1 diabetes – where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
- type 2 diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
Causes of diabetes
The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach).
When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it’s broken down to produce energy.
However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there’s either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.
There are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes.
Effects of diabetes
Although the effects of diabetes aren’t immediate, they’re often long-term and begin to arise over time. The symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:
- feeling more tired than usual
- blurred or impaired vision
- genital itching and/or thrush
- weight loss
- cuts taking longer to heal
You can help manage type 2 diabetes through healthy eating, regular exercise, and achieving a healthy body weight.
When to see a doctor
Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes, which include:
- feeling very thirsty
- peeing more frequently than usual, particularly at night
- feeling very tired
- weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
- cuts or wounds that heal slowly
- blurred vision
A number of our pharmacies provide Diabetes testing, find out if your local branch provides this service here.
Living with diabetes
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to eat healthily, take regular exercise and carry out regular blood tests to ensure your blood glucose levels stay balanced. Contact your local Imaan Pharmacist today for advice on healthy living.
You can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to check whether you’re a healthy weight and find apps and tools in the NHS Apps Library to help you manage your diabetes and have a healthier lifestyle.
People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes also require regular insulin injections for the rest of their life. As type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, medicine may eventually be required, usually in the form of tablets.
If you are worried that you may be at risk of diabetes; please contact your local doctor or Imaan pharmacist for advice today.