I have recently attended a conference on diabetes and asthma (which will be posted soon) and I was fascinated to explain my knowledge, here is what I found out:

The levels of sugar in the blood are controlled by insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. Usually glucose breaks down sugar in the bloodstream however if an individual is affected by diabetes this process cannot take place as there is not enough insulin to break down the glucose.

Type 1 diabetes:

  • The immune system targets the cells that produce insulin.
  • As a result no insulin is produced, which leads to an increase in glucose levels in the body.
  • Much less common than type 2, it affects around 10% of individuals with diabetes.
  • Current treatments include insulin injections, a healthy diet, regular exercise and changes to lifestyle to maintain constant glucose levels in the body.

Type 2 diabetes:

  • Known as insulin resistance; the body produces insufficient insulin which results in hyperglycaemia.
  • Progressive condition may need drug treatments such as Byetta and Victoza.
  • Often associated with obesity.
  • Affects 90% of individuals who have diabetes.
  • Current treatments include monitoring of blood glucose levels, a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Screening for diabetes:

  • Anyone over the age of 12 is recommended to have their eyes screened at least once a year. If an individual is diabetic the¬†eyes are at risk from diabetic retinopathy, a condition which may results in loss of vision if left untreated.
  • The earlier the condition is detected, the more effective treatment will be.
  • Treatments may include :- the surgical removal of the vitreous gel (vitrectomy), this can improve vision if the retina has not been severely damaged also laser eye surgery, known as photocoagulation, may restore vision if retina is not severely damaged.

Gestational Diabetes:

  • Women may have excess levels of blood glucose that the insulin is unable to absorb it all.
  • This may increase the likelihood of health problems occurring in unborn babies.
  • This affects 18% of pregnant women.
  • May occur in pregnant women during weeks 14-26.
  • If affected by gestational diabetes the woman has a 30% chance of incurring type 2 diabetes later on in life.

Thank you for reading.

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