What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a common condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is too high. Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy or sugary food and is normally controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas.

If insulin is missing or not being used by your body effectively then glucose absorbed from food cannot be used as an energy source. Because it’s not being used the concentration of glucose in your blood increases and the body has to try to get rid of it in other ways – high blood glucose can cause damage to your blood vessels causing all sorts of other health problems.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination

Causes of Diabetes

The causes of diabetes are not yet completely known, but we do know that a lot of other factors can come into play such as:

  • Genetics
  • Viruses and other infections
  • Toxins
  • High blood pressure
  • Diet and weight

For some people with diabetes their body doesn’t produce enough insulin. On the other hand, some people with diabetes produce plenty of insulin – but their cells have become resistant and can’t use it as efficiently.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood or teens and represents 10-15% of all diabetes. It usually starts more quickly with very obvious symptoms. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas does not produce insulin and therefore it is necessary to inject it in order to survive. Regular testing of blood glucose is often required.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 is the most frequent form of diabetes representing around 85% of all cases. It starts gradually with less obvious symptoms and it can often go unnoticed for some time. Type 2 diabetes often (but not always!) occurs in overweight people and there may be no weight loss when the disease occurs. In early stages of the disease it may be possible to treat it with an appropriate diet and lifestyle changes.

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monitoring your blood glucose levels provides you with useful information about the effects of food, medication and activity. Glucose levels can change throughout the day and night and depending on how you treat your diabetes it might be appropriate to test at certain times as agreed with your healthcare professional. It also enables you to detect hypoglycaemia and monitor your control during illness.

The aim is to maintain blood glucose levels within agreed targets from your healthcare professional, to reduce the risk of the short- and long-term complications of diabetes.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and Blood Ketone Testing

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous and potentially life threatening condition with thousands of preventable cases each year. DKA happens when there are persistently high levels of glucose in the blood and a lack of insulin, so is most likely to occur if you need to use insulin to control your diabetes.

If you have high blood glucose results (above 13.9 mmol/L) or are ill then testing for ketones should be considered to avoid the possibility of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). When you test for blood ketones using a it is important to understand what the blood ketone result means.

With the portable new GlucoMen Areo 2K meter you check blood ketone levels whenever you need to without needing to carry extra equipment.

Download Diabetes and its Symptoms

Download DKA Information

 

The content of this site is for informational purposes only. Images and other information are not to be used as reasons to change any health, dietary, exercise, or medical regimen. Always seek advice from your health care professional before making any changes to medications, diet, or exercise regimens. All information contained on this page has been approved by a Consultant Diabetologist.

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