Diabetes Week takes place in June every year.
It’s a time when supporters and those affected come together to share their stories and to raise awareness of diabetes. Diabetes UK is a charity, so they rely on fundraising events and donations during the week. Diabetes affects more people than any other serious health condition in the UK. More than dementia and cancer combined and there is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes. Whatever the type of diabetes you may have, with the correct treatment, knowledge and support you can still lead a long, full and healthy life. That means we need to take action now. It’s a fight that involves all of us – sharing knowledge and taking diabetes on together.
There are lots of ways to support Diabetes Week. Join the conversation on social media. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #diabetesweek Hear from supporters online – they’ll be sharing their stories of living with diabetes throughout the week.
What is Diabetes:
- Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that plays a very important role in our bodies. After we eat, we begin to digest carbohydrates, breaking them down into glucose.
- The insulin released by the pancreas moves glucose into our cells, where it is used as fuel for energy
- It may help to understand that insulin is often described as a key, which open the doors to the cells, allowing glucose to enter.
- You’re more at risk if you’re white and over 40 or over 25 if you’re African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian.
- Type 2 diabetes is two to four times more likely in people of South Asian descent and African-Caribbean or Black African descent.
- You’re more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight.
- You’re more at risk if you’ve had high blood pressure.
- You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a sibling’s or parents with diabetes.
What causes Type 1 diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, which means the body destroys the cells that produce insulin. Insulin is needed to help move glucose out of the blood and into cells for energy. Without it, blood glucose levels can get to high, so then insulin injections are needed to control it.
- 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1, diet and lifestyle do not cause it.
|In people who don’t have diabetes, the pancreas makes a normal amount of insulin.||If you have Type 1 diabetes, the body stops making insulin.|
|Insulin acts like a key, helping move glucose into our cells. In Type 1 diabetes, there is no key.||Without insulin, the level of glucose in the blood gets too high.|
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes differs in that it can start later in life, and that the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t work properly. It’s the most common form of diabetes.
- 90% of all those living with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes
|In people without diabetes, the pancreas makes a normal amount of insulin.||When you have Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin made doesn’t work properly.|
|Insulin acts like a key, helping glucose move into our cells. In Type 2 diabetes, the key doesn’t work properly.||Without enough insulin, the level of glucose in the blood gets too high.|
Signs and Symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Feeling more thirsty than usual
- Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
- Losing weight without trying to
- Going to the toilet more frequently especially at night
- Genital itching and thrush
Causes of symptoms:
As there’s a high level of glucose in the blood, the body tries to dispel it through urine, which causes the right conditions fungal infections such as thrush.
If you have some of the symptoms, what to do next?
Your gp should be your first point of contact if you think you may have diabetes. It’s always better to check, as early diagnosis and treatment may prevent further complications.
What happens if you don’t seek treatment?
Symptoms can often appear quickly with Type 1 diabetes and left untreated can lead major health problems such as diabetic ketoacidosis which could result in a fatal coma Most of those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood and the symptoms are the same at any age. However, adults may not be as quick to pick up the symptoms as children do, so treatment and diagnosis could be delayed. As Type 2 diabetes develops more slowly it could be easier to miss and to spot the symptoms. But left without diagnosis or treatment could affect multiple organs such as heart, kidneys, eyes, blood vessels and nerves. Seeking help, advice and treatment early could prevent further problems. Spotting signs of Diabetes in children: To help you spot the four most common symptoms Diabetes UK has created the 4 Ts of Type 1 diabetes. 4 T’s: By making sure we look out for these symptoms early, it ensures children can get the right treatment and diagnosis so it can prevent fatal complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
Children who show signs of the 4 T’s
The first point of contact would be to inform your gp straight away and if possible have a test for Type 1 Diabetes at the time of appointment. It’s usually a quick prick of the finger test which the gp can do. If the test is positive for Type 1 diabetes, the gp can then arrange for the child to see a specialist paediatrician on the diabetes team to get immediate treatment, and bring their diabetes under control
How Diabetes UK can help you
If you, or your family is affected by diabetes, or you need extra advice and support please visit www.diabetes.co.uk Raising awareness Displaying posters and flyers in the neighbourhood, such as schools and doctor’s surgery will actively help people who are seeking advice or who just want to know more about the condition.