Sunday, February 10, 2008

What is Diabetes Mellitus ?

To be able to manage diabetes it is important to know what is diabetes mellitus ?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, chapatis, yams and plantain, from sugar and other sweet foods, and from the liver which makes glucose.

Insulin is vital for life. It is a hormone produced by the pancreas, that helps the glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body.
Diabetes types

There are two main types of diabetes. These are:

* Type 1 diabetes
* Type 2 diabetes

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin. This type of diabetes usually appears before the age of 40. Type 1 diabetes is the least common of the two main types and accounts for between 5 – 15% of all people with diabetes.
Type 2

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). In most cases this is linked with being overweight. This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian and African-Caribbean people often appears after the age of 25. However, recently, more children are being diagnosed with the condition, some as young as seven. Type 2 diabetes is the most common of the two main types and accounts for between 85 - 95% of all people with diabetes.

There are currently over 2.3 million people with diabetes in the UK and there are up to another 750,000 people with diabetes who have the condition and don’t know it.

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