blur-checking-close-up-1001897Explaining Diabetes


Diabetes is a complex disease and it’s serious. left untreated can lead to all sorts of complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and other life threatening problems. There are simple ways of delaying or reversing the risk of developing diabetes. So if you think that you’re at risk get help as soon as possible.  Of course it’s a huge challenge for patients. Supporting people with diabetes is crucial.

Diabetes is a chronic long-term condition that impact on the lives of people in all ages and culture, and not treated effectively can be fatal. Management of the condition depends entirely on people at risk and those with the disease, working together with health care professionals to manage their diabetes effectively.

In order to manage your diabetes well, you need to know:-

1. What is diabetes?

2. How it is treated.

3. What you can do to help yourself.


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.

There are two main types of diabetes:-

• Type 1 diabetes

• Type 2 diabetes


Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin producing beta cells in the body has been destroyed, and the body is unable to produce any insulin. Insulin is the key that unlocks the door of the body cells; once that door is unlocked glucose can enter the cells where it is used as fuel. In type1 diabetes the body is unable to produce any insulin, so there is no key to unlock the door to the cells for glucose to enter, so it builds up in the blood. Nobody knows why these insulin producing cell have been destroyed, but a most likely explanation is the body having an abnormal reaction to the cells. This may be triggered by a virus or other infections.

Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is slightly more complex because there is more processes at work. The body is producing too much insulin, and the insulin it produces is not working properly. This can be due to overweight/obesity as the build-up of fat can stop the insulin (key) and glucose from getting to the body cells. However it can happen to people of a healthy weight.

Therefore in type 2 diabetes the carbohydrates containing foods is broken down into glucose in the stomach and digestive system as normal, that glucose then moves into the blood stream; the pancreas then begins to produce insulin which moves with the glucose through the blood stream, but the glucose can’t get into all the body cells that need glucose to fuel energy; because the lock to the cells has been furred up with fat deposit. The insulin can’t open the body cells doors properly, so the level of glucose in the blood continues to rise.

In response the pancreas continues to produce even more insulin, the blood glucose levels continues to go up and up. This situation is further complicated by the beta cells that are desperate for energy, so they send out an emergency call to the liver to release stored glucose. The blood glucose levels rises and raises and the pancreas produces even more insulin until it can’t cope anymore and eventually wears out.

The body tries to lower the glucose by getting rid of it through the kidney. That’s why people with undiagnosed diabetes tend to go to the toilet a lot to pass urine (urination). As the kidney filters the glucose out of the blood, they also take a lot of water with it, so the person with diabetes will get very thirsty (Thirst).

The urine contains a lot of glucose and that creates an environment where it’s quite easy for bacteria to thrive. So it’s quite common for the person to get thrush or genital itching (thrush or genital itching).
In the same way the blood contains a high level of glucose as well, so more bacteria than normal will tend to breathe in flesh wounds and as a result can slow the healing process (Slow healing of flesh wound).
Glucose can also build up in the lens at the front of the eyes causing the liquid in the lens to become cloudy. That can mean that some people can have blurred vision (blurred vision) It is one of the most common complication/cause of acquired blindness in the working population in the UK today. So if you’re at work and you lose vision then that is most likely to be due to type1 diabetes.

Because glucose can’t get into the cells to be used for energy, a person with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes can feel tired, lethargic and unable to go about their normal daily routine. But the body still need an energy source to work properly. Therefore what it does, it start to break down its fat stores and that can lead to weight loss (weight loss). These are common signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

How it is Diagnosed and Treated.

If you think that you are risk talk to your doctor. Your doctor or practice nurse will test your blood sugar levels to see whether you have diabetes. Currently diagnosis of type II diabetes relies on the measurement of blood glucose either in a fasting state or following a standard glucose tolerance test (HbA1c). In symptomatic individuals a single confirmatory blood test is required to confirm diagnosis, whereas in asymptomatic patients two tests are required to diagnose the disease (William and Pickup, 2001).

A diagnosis is also made by oral glucose tolerance test if the blood glucose level is > 7.8 mmol/l or a random glucose shows levels exceeding 11.1 mmol/l two hours after drinking 75 g of glucose (William and Pickup, 2001). The World health Organization supports the use of the glucose tolerance test. Your local pharmacy team can also give you a quick check; where you can also have your waist measurement done and BMI check.

Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes

• Daily dose of insulin injections.      
• Regulation in diet and lifestyle.

The insulin is a hormone, a protein that is denatured in the stomach so you can’t swallow it. The only way a patient can take insulin is through subcutaneous injection and they have to do this for the rest of their lives. It is important that this condition is treated effectively because of the long term complications associated with the disease.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be treated in a number of different ways. Initially it may be sufficient to make some adjustment in the food you eat and to take extra physical activities, or lose any weight that maybe appropriate. But this disease is progressive and some people may need medication to treat it. Treatments can be…
• With medication and a diet plan.
• Adjustment in lifestyle; having a healthy balance diet and taking regular exercise.


Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed or even cured with lifestyle changes. Increasing body of evidence are confirming the health advantages of diet changes to plant-based nutrition along with exercise in the prevention, reversal and management of diabetes and other chronic degenerative diseases. However because of its DNA make-up Type 1 Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be treated successfully. Many of the diseases we are dying from are the main result of lifestyle choices, and type 2 diabetes comes into these categories. What we put into our mouths, the choices of foods we eat and our sedentary lifestyles are largely responsible.

Scientific studies also consistently shows that a diet consisting of healthy carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc. can help to prevent diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, strokes, heart diseases and some cancers. Combined with physical exercise you can prevent the risk factors of many of these deadly diseases and experience a healthier lifestyle. In today’s environment physical exercise is being recognized as a vital component for achieving optimal health. Several studies consistently shows that thirty (30) minutes of exercise for five days a week can contribute so much to reducing health risks (The Journal of the American Medical Association (273, N0.5 [1995]: 402-407).

Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes

• Obesity (>20% is ideal body weight/BMI>25.0kg/m2).
• Sedentary lifestyle (a lack of physical activities).
• Increases with age (age > 45years) much more in old age.
• Ethnicity and gender.
• Family history (in particular patients or siblings with diabetes).
• Genetics.
• Gestational diabetes (develop during pregnancy or delivery of babies >4.5kg).
Diet and nutrition.

Who Gets Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is more common in children, and young adults.
• Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, but usually appear before the age of 40 years. It is a common disease of childhood. The number of children developing type1 diabetes is increasing in the UK, Europe and around the world. More and more we are seeing an increase at a younger age of five years than it was 12 years ago.

There is also a shift, before there was a peak risk around the age of 12 years, now we are seeing two peaks: one at an early age and one at 12 years. I don’t think anybody knows the reasons why.
But two theories has emerged which suggest that it’s because of the increasing obesity in young children that somehow stirring up the disease in younger children. If this was the case, one would expect fewer adults to have type1 diabetes because it’s moving forward.

• Another plausible explanation is the hygiene hypothesis
• Type II diabetes more commonly diagnosed in adults, it is most common in the over 40s in the white population.
• Some sector of population more prone; BME groups.
In the over 25s in the black and South Asian population.

MODY maturity onset diabetes in young people

MODY is a form of youth onset diabetes which is not insulin dependent. There is a strong dominant family history, and is associated with abnormal hepatic nuclear factors (HNF) or glucokinase genes. This is an increasing trend in young people over the last ten years. Recent research has found that type II Diabetes is now showing up in children and young adults due to the increase in obesity in this age group.

Prevalence in the UK

2.8 million People in England suffer from Diabetes and the figure continues to increase. An estimated 850.000 people in the population are undiagnosed and don’t know that they have diabetes.

85% of population diagnosed have type2 diabetes.
15% of population diagnosed have type1 diabetes.
Cost to the Health Care Provider.
5% total resources of NHS budget go towards Diabetes care in the community.
10% of budget goes towards inpatients resources for the care of Diabetes.

Social cost on an average annual basis costs £2,450 (DoH 1999); social care needs to spending relating to Diabetes, on average towards every one in twenty people (DoH 1999).
Cost to the individuals and their families.

Diabetes is serious and can lead to life threatening complications:-
• Heart disease.
• Blindness.
• Kidney failure.
• Stroke.
• Nerve damage that can lead to leg amputation
• .Get all your Health Screening done

What you can do to help yourself

  • (Know your numbers; start today).Blood sugar/Cholesterol level.
  • BMI /Peak Flow levels.
  • Blood Pressure /Fat Analysis.
  • Weight, Waist and Height measurements.
  • Age Analysis.
  • It’s important to know whether you are type 1 or type 2 diabetic
  • Know your numbers
  • Know your normal blood sugar levels.
  • Know your BMI (body mass index) maintain a healthy weight.
  • Know your normal B/P levels.
  • Know what care plan would work for you.
  • Know your diet plan (healthier diet).
  • Know your physical activity plan (keep active).

Find out about structured education courses on diabetes and read every thing you can about the disease.
Know what to expect from the Health Care Provider. Learn about the long term complications of diabetes and how to prevent them. Help raise awareness of the growing trend of diabetes; lend a hand and help reach more than 1 million who are unaware that they have type 2 diabetes.

Let us do all we can to be an agent of change. Life is full of ‘ifs’ and ‘then’ if you pay attention to your health then you health wouldn’t attack you. If you exercise 30 min a day 5 day per week then your heart will stay strong.
It’s a passport to A Healthy U.