A guide to Diabetes

Around 3.2 million people have been diagnosed with Diabetes in the UK and an estimated 630,000 people are living with the condition but do not know it!!!!!

People with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood because their body can not use it properly. This is because their pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, enough insulin or the insulin that is produced does not work properly. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells so it can be used as energy to help us live our everyday lives. We get glucose from digesting carbohydrates and it is also produced by the liver. If you have diabetes the glucose builds up in your blood and can not be used as energy!

 

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body is not able to produce any insulin. It accounts for about 10% of all adults diagnosed with diabetes and is treated with daily injections of insulin as well as eating healthily and leading an active lifestyle. It can develop at any age and is the most common type of diabetes found in children.

 

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin that is produced does not work properly. It accounts for 85 – 95% of all people diagnosed with diabetes and is treated with a healthy diet, an active lifestyle and where necessary, medication and insulin. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in people over the age of 30 but it is increasingly becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities.

 

How to recognise undiagnosed diabetes

  • passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
  • increased thirst
  • extreme tiredness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
  • slow healing of cuts and wounds
  • blurred vision

 

In Type 1 diabetes the signs and symptoms are usually obvious and develop quickly over a few weeks. The signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes however are unfortunately harder to recognise as they can develop slowly over a period of years. The signs and symptoms can be quickly relieved once the diabetes has been treated.

 

Early diagnosis is hugely beneficial so please take a few minutes to check your risk score here. If you have any of the above signs or symptoms or are concerned in any way, please contact your GP. Leaving diabetes untreated can lead to serious health problems as diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Being diagnosed early and controlling your blood glucose levels can help prevent these complications.

 

Young people and Type 1 diabetes – the 4 T’s

As many as 1 in 4 young people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, for children under 5 years old it is 1 in 3…….a very scary statistic!!!! Diabetes UK are campaigning to make more people aware of the most common signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes in children and young people, they have called it the 4 T’s of Type 1 diabetes.

 

  • Toilet
    Going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies
  • Thirsty
    Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst
  • Tired 
    Feeling more tired than usual
  • Thinner
    Losing weight or looking thinner than usual

If your child or a child you know has any of these signs and symptoms you should take them to see your GP or encourage the child’s parents to take them to see their GP. A quick diagnosis and early treatment hopefully means we can avoid them becoming seriously ill!!! Diabetes UK has put together a collection of downloadable resources to help raise awareness. These posters and flyers are easily distributed within your local area, at a school or playgroup or just passed around your family and friends.

 
If you would like any more information on diabetes, Diabetes UK has a wonderfully useful website providing information on everything to do with diabetes and how to get support.

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