Overview of Diabetes

Overview of Diabetes

Diabetes is a very common chronic disease that affects your blood sugar levels. Over 3.2 million people in the UK have diabetes, and hundreds of thousands more are thought to have the disease but haven’t yet been diagnosed. This represents an increase of more than 163,000 people over the previous year's statistics.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes affects the way glucose is used by your body. This sugar is the main source of fuel for your body and is made when your body turns food into glucose. Your cells use insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, to move glucose from our blood to our cells, where it can be used for energy.

If you have diabetes, however, your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or your cells don’t properly utilise the glucose produced. As a result, glucose builds up in your bloodstream, raising your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels too high.

What are the long-term effects of diabetes?

Diabetes can be managed, but it can also lead to some very serious effects if it’s not diagnosed and effectively treated. It kills more people each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined, and this disease is the leading cause of kidney failure, heart disease, and blindness.

It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions if you’re diagnosed with diabetes. There’s no cure, but you can take steps to help lower your blood sugar levels. These can include medication, exercise, healthy dietary changes, and checking your blood sugar levels at home multiple times a day.