Diabetes is a condition where there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood and while glucose is an essential energy source for all of us, complications can occur if it is too high over a long period of time.
Type 1 diabetes tends to occur in childhood or early adult life and always requires treatment with insulin injections. It is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying the insulin-making cells (beta-cells) of the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly in adulthood. It is progressive and can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise, but more often it may require antidiabetic medicine and/or insulin injections.
You are more at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes if you fulfil any of the following criteria or if you recognise any of the following symptoms:
- Over 40 years of age
- Have a parent or brother/sister with diabetes
- Had diabetes during a pregnancy
- Are overweight for your height
- Do not take 30 minutes of physical activity daily
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high cholesterol
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent trips to the bathroom (urination) especially at night
- Rapid and unexplained weight gain or loss
- Frequent infections
- Slow-healing sore or cut
- Numbness, pain or tingling in your hands or feet
The more of the above that apply to you, the more likely you are to have diabetes or pre-diabetes. A simple blood test with your GP is therefore essential.