WHAT IS DIABETES?

Diabetes occurs when there is a lack of a hormone called insulin in the body, or when the body does not respond properly to insulin. Insulin is released by an organ called the pancreas. It is responsible for letting glucose (sugar) in to the cells in the body to produce energy. Without insulin, the amount of glucose in the bloodstream builds up and becomes too high.

Type 1 diabetes usually occurs before the age of 35. People with type 1 diabetes produce no insulin and therefore must treat their diabetes by injecting insulin in order to control their blood sugar level.

Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults over 40 years of age. People with type 2 diabetes make some insulin. In some cases they may be treated with diet, exercise and weight loss. When these treatments are not e­ffective, anti-diabetic medication or insulin injections may be required. Another form of diabetes is called Gestational diabetes. This is triggered by pregnancy. Hormone changes during pregnancy can a­ffect insulin’s ability to work properly. The condition occurs in approximately 4% of all pregnancies. Usually, blood sugar levels return to normal within six weeks of childbirth. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.