June 10-16th 2019 is Diabetes Awareness Week.
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that causes a person’s blood sugar levels to be too high. This condition is split into type 2 diabetes (by far the most common), and type 1 diabetes. More than 1 in 16 people in the UK are diagnosed with diabetes, a current 3.9 million in total. This is estimated to rise to 5 million by 2025.
How can I tell if I have diabetes?
There are various symptoms of diabetes including:
- Cuts or wounds that are slow to heal
- Feeling tired more often
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination, sometimes in the middle of the night
- Increased thirst
Type 1 diabetes symptoms can develop over weeks or even a few days. It is important to look out for pre-diabetes as well. Having blood sugar levels above average, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, leaves people at risk of developing diabetes in the future.
Therefore it is very important to see a doctor if you discover any symptoms or know your blood sugar is above average. Not seeing a doctor and avoiding treatment leaves you at risk of symptoms progressing further.
What causes diabetes?
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Type 1: Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, the body’s immune system eliminates cells than produce insulin. This leaves body organs at risk, as the lack of insulin means glucose levels continue to increase which can have damaging effects.
Type 2: Also known as insulin-resistant diabetes, this is where the body does not produce enough insulin.
How does this affect my lifestyle?
Type 1 diabetes affects 10% of adults with diabetes in the UK, with 90% of those with diabetes having type 2.
For those living with type 1 diabetes, insulin injections will need to be taken permanently. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and regular blood tests will also be required to ensure blood glucose levels remain balanced.
Type 2 diabetes differs. Type 2 is a progressive disease and may require medication as time goes on. Type 2 diabetes is also linked to obesity.
In addition, Type 2 diabetes is the most common cause of blindness in working age people and is known to cause kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
What can I do to live healthily with diabetes?
Despite diabetes being a life-long condition, it is very possible to still be healthy and live life to its fullest. To maintain a healthy lifestyle with diabetes:
- Ensure you have a healthy diet
- Stay clear of smoking and excessive alcohol intake
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce stress – e.g through meditation, walking, hobbies
- Ensure you take your medication and keep track of your blood sugar levels to make sure they are balanced
Learn more about diabetes
At HealthUnlocked we offer help too. Below you can find a link to our Diabetes Community, a community where you can join to find and connect with people who are going through similar health experiences as you.