Friday, 6 May 2011

Diabetes..what do you really know about it?

Diabetes is one of the most common conditions in Britain today, there are almost 2.8 million people diagnosed with it and roughly 850,000 people who don't even know that they have the condition.

Diabetes is a condition that affects the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein resulting in total/partial Insulin deficiency.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. The human body requires a certain amount of it, which is received through the food we eat daily.

There are two types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Insulin Dependent Diabetes: Which is commonly known as juvenile diabetes. The onset to this form of diabetes is unknown but usually is sudden. A person will present with the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased hunger
  • frequent urination
  • Increased blood and glucose levels - only found upon taking a blood tests.
  • Increased Ketone levels in urine- if left untreated can result in ketoacidosis.
What are Ketones?  if the hormone Insulin can not metabolise blood sugar in the body due to deficiency the body will burn fat. As a result there will be a build up of ketones in the blood stream. If the levels are too high it will result in a risk of Ketoacidosis and this emergency can lead to coma and in serious cases death.

Treatment for type 1 diabetes is injecting insulin into the body, insulin pumps, and rarely pancreatic transplants and transplantation of pancreatic islets cells.

Type 2 Diabetes Insulin Independent Diabetes: This form of diabetes is commonly presents itself later in life. It is characterized by high levels of blood glucose levels. A person will present with the following symptoms:

  • Increase thirst
  • frequent urination
  • Weight loss
There are many additional factors which could give rise to or exacerbate Type 2 Diabetes this includes- High blood pressure, High Cholesterol, Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, various medical conditions, drugs, stress and poor diet. Therefore trying to control all of the above mentioned will decrease the severity of the diabetes.

Diabetes affects the whole body! This includes several areas:

  1. Heart - there is an increase chance of athero-sclerosis and Myocardial Infarction (pre-cursor to heart attack)
  2. Feet - there is a decreased circulation because of the diabetes causing ulcers, loss of feeling to the foot and possible gangrene.
  3. Eyes - diabetes affects the small blood vessels of the eyes and if they become blocked or leak (diabetic retionopathy) there is an increased chance of blindness.
Diabetic patients need to take great care in all aspects of their lifestyle. However if you have any concerns or you would like more advice about being diabetic and whether that effects you having treatment for anything else then please contact us.


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