Most people have heard of diabetes, even know someone with this condition. However, do you know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2?

What are the warning signs of prediabetes? And the main symptoms of this metabolic ailment. Do you know the best and simplest way to get diagnosed? And what is the best way to keep on track. How many people know the types and the signs to look out for?

What is diabetes?

This is a metabolic lifelong health condition that happens when a persons blood glucose is too high. It affects how a body turns food into energy. Most of the food a person eats is broken down into sugar and released into the bloodstream. Blood sugar then rises, it sends a message to the pancreas to release insulin. If the pancreas is unable to produce enough of the hormone insulin a person can then be diagnosed with this disease.

Prediabetes

Sometimes referred to as borderline diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. A persons blood glucose level is higher than usual but not so high to constitute diabetes. Blood glucose levels for prediabetes are 7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L. Blood sugar level of 11.1 mmol/L or higher indicates type 2.

It is extremely important to look after yourself. Get regular check ups, watch your weight, have a good diet. Go down the wrong road and you are at a greater risk of strokes and heart disease.

Type 1

Type 1 is most likely diagnosed in the younger generation. Usually a genetic disorder. If you have developed Type 1 your immune system is attacking and destroying the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.

Type 2

Type 2 is the most common in the UK. 90% of adults with diabetes have type 2. This is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin.

Gestational Diabetes

A temporary condition in pregnancy. Gestational diabetes results when the body of a pregnant woman does not secrete excess insulin required during pregnancy leading to increased blood sugar levels. This can be harmful to both the baby and the mother.

Diabetes and Symptoms to look out for

The most common symptoms are running to the loo, extreme thirst, exhaustion and losing weight. However, below is a list of the main symptoms. Please don’t ignore the signs. Get it checked out by your GP.

Feeling thirsty

Eating more often, bigger appetite

Going to the toilet, needing a pee

Tiredness

Weight loss

Blurred vision

Cuts taking longer to heal

Thrush

LOOK OUT FOR THE ‘4Ts’

Toilet

Tired

Thirsty

Thinner

You cannot make any changes to your life to stop yourself getting diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. However you can make sure you do look after your body, eat a balanced diet and do your best to maintain a healthy body weight should you develop the disease you are in the best possible condition to deal with the road that lies ahead and are ready for regular insulin injections for the rest of your life and what comes with it.

Type 2 diabetes can quite often be managed through cutting out sugary and high calorie products, eating healthy, exercising regularly and losing weight.

Risk factors

A history of high blood pressure

Being overweight

45 years of age and above

A family history of diabetes

History of polycystic ovary syndrome

Sedentary lifestyle

Living with Diabetes

Regardless of your age, and what type of diabetes you have, you need to look after yourself. One thing that must be done on a daily basis is checking blood sugar levels. All diabetics will have a monitor at home to check this. Maintaining a good glucose level is important. It vital to record the levels, if they are too high (hyperglycaemia) or too low (hypoglycaemia) and deal with the situation. If a diabetic’s sugar level drops too low and has a ‘hypo’ it can be extremely dangerous. It is important you recognise the signs of hypoglycaemia. If there is not enough glucose or sugar in the blood the person will find it difficult to function and if not treated eventually fall into a diabetic coma.

Sugar level <3.5 mmol/L

Sweating

Irritability

Shaky

Turning pale

Tired

Tingling lips

Blurred vission

Confusion

Heart palpitations

If blood sugar levels drop the first line is to eat something. Have a glucose tablet, 3 or 4 jelly babies, cup of milk, fresh orange juice, glucogel. Avoid caffeine. Then check the level once again. If the person cannot fend for themselves and is losing consciousness, administer a glucagon injection.

Checking blood sugar

Prevention is best: Look after yourself. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise regularly. Reduce your alcohol consumption. Manage your diabetes – control it – don’t let it control you. Get your eyes screened, it only involves a 30 minute check to the back of the eyes and detects conditions early. You can find out more about eye screening here Get your feet checked. 1 in 10 people with diabetes develop problems with their feet leading to foot ulcers and posing a threat of amputation. It is best to take care of your body as well as you can, look after your skin, get any wounds checked out as soon as possible and keep up on those check ups.

Where can you find out more?

The charity diabetes.co.uk

Diabetes UK

You can check your body mass index here

BMI Calculator