How Do You Get Diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

There are two kinds of diabetes and they’re simply called Type 1 and Type 2. With Type 1 diabetes, your main problem is your body’s inability to produce insulin – the all-important hormone that converts blood sugar into energy. Without insulin, glucose will only continuously build up in your system. Type 1 is also called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. There is no known cure for this type.

With Type 2 diabetes, your body is able to produce insulin but only in inadequate amounts. And if it is inadequate, your body is unable to make use of it completely and effectively.

There are other instances in life, like pregnancy for instance, that could cause you to suffer from diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

If you suspect yourself of suffering from Type 1 diabetes, here are several symptoms to further confirm your suspicions.

Hunger. You’re eating enough or even more than what you need, but you still end up feeling hungry. This is because the glucose coming from the food you eat isn’t being converted to energy. As such, your system will still feel starved even if you’ve eaten enough for an army.

Thirst and Urination. High glucose levels in your blood reduces fluid volume, which consequently make you feel thirstier more often. And of course, increased thirst will generally lead to increased frequency in urination.

Weight Loss. Going back to the unsuccessful conversion of blood sugar into energy, muscle tissues and fats won’t be able to bulk up. The longer they’re deprived of energy, the more they’ll shrink in size. It’s not surprising for diabetics suffering from insulin deficiency to suddenly experience rapid and excessive weight loss.

Fatigue. Naturally, lack of energy distributed to your system will end up causing you to experience fatigue.

Blurry Vision. In spite of its common occurrence, blurry vision is one of the least known symptoms of diabetes. Decreasing fluid levels in your blood will eventually affect fluid levels in the rest of your body, such as your eyes. Diabetes could cause you to have poorer focus because of reduced fluid levels.

Causes of Diabetes

And now, we get to the most important question: how do we get diabetes? Unfortunately, while we do know what happens inside our body to make us suffer from diabetes, no scientist has yet discovered what causes the specified sequence of events to occur. Nobody knows why an individual’s immune system would suddenly destroy cells responsible for producing hormones and therefore leading to the increase of glucose content in his blood.

Scientists, however, have certain theories about possible causes of Type 1 diabetes. For one, genetics have been pinpointed to potentially cause diabetes. Family history as well as exposure to certain bacteria and viruses have also been cited as possible contributing factors.

Consulting Your Doctor about Diabetes

Even without determining the cause, the list of symptoms provided will still enable you to determine whether you are suffering from Type 1 diabetes of not. If your suspicions have been confirmed, the next step for validation is to consult your doctor. The type of test or procedure you’ll be subjected to will depend on your doctor. In most cases, however, blood tests would be enough to verify your condition.

If not treated properly and instantly, Type 1 diabetes can lead to various complications from short-term ones like extremely high or low blood sugar content and diabetic ketoacidosis to long-term ones like having neuropathy, nephropathy, osteoporosis as well as other serious problems with your heart, eyes, foot, skin and mouth.

Treatments for Diabetes

The critical fact you have to understand about treating diabetes is that it’s a commitment which would last a lifetime for you and your loved ones. Emotional support is just as vital for you to cope with your condition.

The components making up treatment plans for diabetes will be determined by your doctor and your preferences. It will commonly include dietary restrictions, exercise requirements, lifestyle changes, and use of medications and possibly therapies as well.

Rates of Diabetes Increasing In The UK

The Department of Health’s document ‘Health Profile of England’ published in October 2007 shows that rates of Diabetes continue to increase in the UK.

There are 2.35 Million people in the UK diagnosed with Diabetes and up to a further 750,000 who have type 2 diabetes but are unaware they have it. The number of diagnosed cases is expected to rise to 2.5 Million by 2010. Around 5% of the total NHS spend is used for the care of people with Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic progressive disease that has an impact on almost every aspect of life and is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK. Life expectancy is reduced by at least fifteen years for someone with type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, which is preventable in two thirds of those people who have it, life expectancy is reduced by up to 10 years. It is estimated that around 90% of people with diabetes have type 2.

Increases of Obesity have also shown to be a major factor in the rising cases of obesity.1,2

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Nobody knows for sure why these cells have been damaged but the most likely cause is an abnormal reaction of the body to the cells. This may be triggered by a viral or other infection.

Type 2 diabetes

If you are white and over 40 years old, or if you’re black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group and over 25 years old and have one or more of the following risk factors, you should ask your GP for a test for diabetes.

The risk factors

o A close member of your family has Type 2 diabetes (parent or brother or sister).

o You’re overweight or if your waist is 31.5 inches or over for women; 35
inches or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for white and black men.

o You have high blood pressure or you’ve had a heart attack or a stroke.

o You’re a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and you are overweight.

o You’ve been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting

o If you’re a woman and you’ve had gestational diabetes.

o You have severe mental health problems.

The more risk factors that apply to you, the greater your risk of having diabetes.

Your age

You’re at risk of diabetes if you’re over 40 or you’re over 25 and black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group. The risk also rises with age so the older you get the more at risk you are.

The family

Having diabetes in the family puts you at risk. The closer the relative is, the greater the risk. So if your mum or dad has diabetes, rather than your aunt or uncle, it’s more likely you will develop the condition too.


African-Caribbean or South Asian people who live in the UK are at least five times more likely to have diabetes than the white population.

Your weight

Not all people with diabetes are over weight but the stats show that over 80 per cent of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. The more overweight and the more inactive you are the greater your risk. If you don’t know whether you’re overweight, ask your GP to measure your BMI.

Your waist

Women – if your waist measures 31.5in (80cm) or more you’ve got an increased risk.
Men – if you’re white or black and your waist is 37in (94cm) or more you have an increased risk of developing diabetes; if you’re an Asian man the figure is 35in (90cm) or more.

The other factors

If you’ve been diagnosed with any problems with your circulation, had a heart attack or stroke, or if you’ve got high blood pressure you may be at an increased risk of diabetes.
Pregnant women can develop a temporary type of diabetes – gestational diabetes. Having this – or giving birth to a large baby – can increase the risk of a woman going on to develop diabetes in the future.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing diabetes.

If you’ve been told you have either impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) it means the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood is higher than normal but you don’t have diabetes and you should follow a healthy diet, lose weight if you need to and keep active, to help yourself prevent diabetes. But make sure you’re regularly tested for diabetes.

Other conditions such as raised triglycerides (a type of blood fat) and severe mental health problems can also increase your risk.

If you think you may be diabetic but have not been tested speak to your GP or Pharmacist for advice