DIABETES is a life-long health condition which affects around 3.5 million people in the UK alone.
Today is World Diabetes Day, and experts estimate there are up to 549,000 people living with diabetes who don’t know it yet. But what is it exactly and what are the difference between the two types?
What is diabetes?
It is a condition caused by high levels of glucose – or sugar – in the blood.
Glucose levels are so high because the body is unable to properly use it.
In people diagnosed with diabetes, their pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin.
Insulin is a hormone typically produced by the pancreas and allows glucose to enter the cells in the body, where it’s used for energy.
What are the signs to look out for with diabetes?
The common signs you may have diabetes include:
- going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- being really thirsty
- feeling more tired than usual
- losing weight, without trying to
- genital itching or thrush
- cuts and wounds that take longer to heal
- blurred vision
The symptoms are caused by high levels of glucose remaining in the blood, where it cannot be used as energy.
These signs are common in children and adults alike. But, adults suffering type 1 diabetes can find it harder to recognise their symptoms.
Diabetes UK’s four T’s campaign aims to raise awareness of the key signs.