Diabetes Week

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Health Assured team

03 June 2015

Diabetes is a common life-long health condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. There are 3.2 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 630,000 people who have the condition, but don’t know it.

Diabetes develops when glucose can’t enter the body’s cells to be used as fuel. This happens when either:

  • There is no insulin to unlock the cells (Type 1)
  • There is not enough insulin or the insulin is there but not working properly (Type 2)

The main symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include:

  • passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
  • increased thirst
  • extreme tiredness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
  • slow healing of cuts and wounds
  • blurred vision

Most commonly any one with diabetes will need regular medication to control their blood sugars. The type of medication you require will depend on your own individual needs and situation. Insulin is a hormone made by an organ in the body called the pancreas, which lies just behind the stomach. The function of insulin is to help our bodies use glucose for energy. Everyone with Type 1, and some people with Type 2 diabetes, needs to take insulin to control their blood glucose levels. Monitoring your diabetes is crucial to preventing some of the possible complications associated with diabetes. This involves knowing your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fat levels, as well as the condition of your feet and getting your eyes and kidneys screened for early signs of damage. No food is out of bounds but food choices are an important part of your diabetes management, whether you have Type 1, Type 2 or another type of diabetes. Eating a balanced diet, such as fruit and vegetables, starchy foods, non-dairy sources of protein and dairy, is something we should all try to do. It is fine to have a treat every now and again but the foods you choose are an important part of your diabetes treatment, along with medication, testing and being active. Avoid skipping meals and space your breakfast, lunch and evening meal out over the day. This will help control your appetite and blood glucose levels – especially if you are on twice-daily insulin. Working a long shift? Take a healthy packed lunch and healthy snacks with you. There is a lot of support out there for anyone with diabetes such as support groups, internet forums, training and awareness days and fundraising events for charity research. If you have any concerns about your health then visit your GP as soon as possible as early detection can help in the treatment of diabetes; and the offset of secondary conditions brought on by the illness. For more information visit www.diabetes.org.uk    

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