Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.
What causes diabetes?
The amount of sugar in the blood is usually controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach). When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy.
However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there is either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.
There are two main types of diabetes, referred to as type 1 and type 2.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don't react to insulin. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce any insulin at all so glucose levels increase, which can seriously damage the body's organs.
Symptoms common to both types of diabetes include:
- feeling very thirsty
- urinating frequently, particularly at night
- feeling very tired
- weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
It is important diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible. Diabetes is progressive and cannot be cured, but medication can keep your blood glucose at normal levels, this will usually start with tablets, but later on it may include injected therapies, such as insulin. If diagnosed with either type it may be possible to control your symptoms by altering your lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet.