Diabetes mellitus is a very common condition.  Over 2 million people in the UK suffer with it and the most frequent type is known as Type 2 diabetes.  Insulin is a hormone produced in the body which allows it to process sugar (glucose) and use it for energy.   Type 1 diabetes occurs when there is an absolute lack of insulin production from the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is due to insulin not working adequately (insulin resistance) coupled with a slow loss of insulin production.


Type 1 diabetes is most often caused by an autoimmune reaction to the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.  These are the beta cells.  Autoimmune diseases are when the body attacks itself.  The trigger which tells the body to destroy the beta cells is not yet fully understood, but it may be related to a virus. Type 2 diabetes is very strongly related to obesity, particularly with the pattern of excess fat around the abdomen. The modern British diet of takeaways and a lack of exercise has certainly contributed to the large increase in Type 2 diabetes seen over the past few years.


Type 1 diabetes is always treated with insulin.  Blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with diet and exercise or tablets in the initial few years.  Eventually most patients with Type 2 diabetes need insulin.


Problems related to diabetes over the longer term include those related to high blood sugar levels.  These are predominantly kidney, eye, skin and nerve problems.  Other factors associated with diabetes such as high cholesterol or hypertension also lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.


©Stadn Ltd

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