Diabetes is a group of diseases in which your blood glucose levels are too high. When your body turns the food you eat into energy (also called sugar or glucose), insulin is released to help transport this energy to the cells.
If you produce little or no insulin, or are insulin resistant, too much sugar remains in your blood.
Typical symptoms include:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination or urine infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
- Blurred vision
The following are main types of diabetes to look out for
1. Type I
This is where the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin
This is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection and illness) mistakes the cells in your pancreas as harmful and attacks them.
It can develop at any age, particularly in childhood but usually appears before the age of 40. This is why it’s sometimes called juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes.
Without insulin, your body will break down its own fat and muscle, resulting in weight loss. This can lead to a serious short-term condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, where the bloodstream becomes acidic and you develop dangerous levels of dehydration.
2. Type II
In this case your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or your cells don’t react to insulin.
Majority of adults with diabetes have type 2, and it tends to develop later in life unlike type I.
3. Gestational diabetes
A form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of being born too large.
Extra glucose in your bloodstream crosses the placenta, which triggers your baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin. However, most women who develop diabetes during pregnancy go on to have a healthy baby if they receive treatment during their pregnancy.
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