What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where the body can’t use glucose properly. The cause of diabetes is unknown – you can’t catch it but it can run in families. There are two types of diabetes Insulin Dependant Diabetes (IDDM) and Non-insulin Dependant Diabetes (NIDDM). People who have diabetes need to pay special attention to their diet. Foods you eat that contain fat or sugar are changed into glucose and pass into your blood. Your pancreas produces insulin, which helps get glucose into the cells of the body where it is used as a source of energy. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the body’s cells so it builds up in the blood. If you have diabetes, either your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or the insulin isn’t working properly.
Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves if it is undiagnosed or not controlled. This may affect:
- Heart and blood flow
- Your ability to fight skin, kidney and other infections.
Most diabetes develops in people who are over 40. People often have diabetes for some time before it is detected. You may be at risk if three or more of the following describe you.
- You are over 40 years.
- You are overweight.
- Someone in your family has diabetes.
- You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Signs & Symptoms
- Frequent urination.
- Drinking a lot of liquid.
- Tiredness – loss of energy.
- Sickly sweet smelling breath.
- A lot of infections, such as skin (e.g. boils), genital (e.g. thrush ), nail or urinary tract infections.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Blurred or fuzzy vision.
- Wounds that heal slowly.