What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body can't use glucose (a type of sugar) normally. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. The levels of glucose in the blood are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made by the pancreas. Insulin helps glucose to enter the cells.
Diabetes is caused when there is resistance to, or deficient production of insulin, which helps glucose move from the blood into the body’s cells. When the body does not produce or use enough insulin, the cells cannot use the glucose for energy and the blood glucose level rises. This means that the body will instead start to break down its own fat and muscle for energy.1
Globally, there has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of diabetes. It is estimated that if the current world wide trend prevails, there will be 380 million people affected by diabetes by the year 2025.2 Even though diabetes affects nearly 4% of the world’s population,3 many people know very little about the disease.
There are 2 primary types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that create insulin. As a result, the body makes very little or no insulin of its own. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body cannot properly use the insulin it does create. Eventually, the pancreas may stop producing insulin altogether. Type 2 diabetes can affect people at any age. In both men and women, the more overweight an individual is, the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.4
Hyperglycaemia, or high blood glucose, occurs when levels rise above your recommended range. Your healthcare professional will determine the proper healthy blood glucose range for you.
High blood glucose can be caused by many things, including:
- Eating too much food
- Little or no physical activity
- Not taking medications
- Stress, infection or illness
- Bad or spoiled insulin
High blood glucose can cause serious problems and is a major cause of long-term diabetes complications. Some warning signs of high blood glucose include:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth or skin
- Slow-healing cuts and sores
- Unexplained weight loss
It is important to keep your blood glucose level within your recommended target range. Checking your blood glucose often may help you avoid hyperglycaemia.
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