Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that results in elevated blood sugar levels. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent, accounting for over 90% of all adults with diabetes in the UK. Additionally, gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy and typically resolves after childbirth, is another form of high blood sugar. It is essential to detect and manage diabetes early to prevent long-term health complications.

Symptoms

Diabetes presents various symptoms, including:

  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination, especially during the night
  • profound fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss and muscle mass reduction
  • itching around the genital area, recurring thrush infections
  • blurred vision

If you experience these symptoms, it is advisable to consult a GP for evaluation.

Causes

Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, regulates blood sugar levels. In individuals with diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin (type 2 diabetes) or cannot effectively utilize it (type 1 diabetes). Type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells, while type 2 diabetes is often associated with inadequate insulin production or insulin resistance. Lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, sedentary habits, and obesity, contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Managing diabetes

If diagnosed with diabetes, lifestyle modifications and regular medical care are crucial for effective management. Key aspects include:

  • Healthy eating: Adopting a balanced diet that includes appropriate portions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Regular check-ups: Monitoring blood sugar levels through regular blood tests and seeking medical advice for optimal management.
  • Smoking cessation: Quitting smoking to reduce the risk of complications.
  • Alcohol moderation: Limiting alcohol consumption to maintain overall health.

For individuals with type 1 diabetes, regular insulin injections are necessary, while those with type 2 diabetes may require medication, usually in the form of tablets or injections, to control blood sugar levels. Some individuals with type 2 diabetes can achieve remission by adopting a low-calorie diet and losing weight, but medical advice should be sought before embarking on such a regimen.

Complications and regular check-ups

Diabetes can have adverse effects on the eyes and feet. Diabetic eye screening is essential to detect and treat diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to vision loss if left untreated. Regular eye examinations are vital for early detection and effective management.

Diabetes can also cause nerve damage and reduced blood supply to the feet. Consequently, foot injuries may go unnoticed and heal poorly, leading to ulcers, infections, and potential amputations. Regular foot check-ups by healthcare professionals are necessary to prevent complications.

By proactively managing diabetes, individuals can lead healthier lives and reduce the risk of long-term complications. It is important to seek medical attention promptly if any concerns arise regarding vision or foot health. Together with healthcare professionals, individuals can successfully navigate the challenges of living with diabetes.

Doctor
General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.

Dermatologist

At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.

References