Diabetes is a chronic disease characterised by having too much glucose in the blood because the body is not producing insulin or is not using the insulin properly.
Insulin is a hormone needed for glucose to enter the body's cells and be converted to energy.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2
Type 1 DiabetesAccounts for 10-15% of all cases of diabetes and is where the pancreas no longer produces insulin. It is not caused by lifestyle factors and is usually diagnosed in childhood or young adults. Signs and symptoms are usually abrupt and include: excessive urination, excessive thirst, recurrent infections, tiredness, blurred vision, high levels of sugar in the blood and dehydration. Treatment usually consists of lifelong daily injections of insulin, measuring blood sugar, a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Type 2 Diabetes
Accounts for 85-90% of all cases of diabetes and is where the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the insulin is not working effectively. Lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet, obesity and lack of exercise can contribute to the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Risk factors include family history, age over 45 (not always), being overweight or obese, ethnicity, previous gestational (pregnancy) diabetes and insulin resistance syndrome. Signs and symptoms are the same as those for Type 1 Diabetes but occur gradually and sometimes no symptoms are noticed at all. Treatment includes regular exercise and a healthy diet and may progress to tablets and insulin injections overtime.
Weight is a factor in diabetes
Over 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight at the time of diagnosis. The more overweight or obese you are, the greater your risk of diabetes.
Find out more about the effects on health of being overweight or obese here.