Facts about Diabetes

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Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects around 2.2 million people in the UK.  There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.  85 to 90% of sufferers have Type 2 diabetes and 10 to 15% have Type 1 diabetes.  The number of people with diabetes is increasing throughout the world, with Type 2 diabetes reaching epidemic proportions.


Facts about Type 1 diabetes:

This accounts for 10 to 15% of the total number of people with diabetes in the UK. It is referred to as insulin dependent diabetes it affects children and adults up to the age of about forty. The number of children under the age of 5 being diagnosed is increasing. It is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. The body no longer produces insulin and glucose levels rise. Treatment with insulin injections is always required for survival. It is usually diagnosed as an acute condition. There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes and it’s cause has not been established. It is thought that there may be several causes with a genetic link in some people. Recent research shows that a common virus may trigger the body’s immune system to attack its own insulin producing pancreatic cells.


Facts about Type 2 diabetes:

It affects 85% to 90% of the total number of people with diabetes in the UK. Over 2 million people suffer with it and it is thought that there could be a further 1 million people undiagnosed. It is referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes and it occurs mainly in people over the age of 40 but, with the rise in obesity, it is now occurring in children. The pancreas still produces some insulin but either not enough or it not used properly by the organs in the body and there can be too much insulin in the system. It can be treated with diet and exercise alone. Often oral blood glucose lowering drugs are prescribed and, if this still fails to reduce blood glucose levels sufficiently, then treatment with insulin is necessary. On average, people with Type 2 diabetes start to take insulin 7 years after diagnosis. It can remain undiagnosed for several years during which time the blood glucose levels are too high. There is a tendency for Type 2 diabetes to run in families. A sedentary lifestyle and being overweight or obese are also causes, so it is preventable for many.


Complications of diabetes

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are different diseases in cause, effect and treatment but the same long-term complications can arise in both types of the condition. Complications affect the eyes, the heart and vascular system, the kidneys and the nerves.

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