Diabetes is a condition that relates to the body’s ability to control the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the pancreas. It is responsible for regulating a person’s blood sugar levels. Insulin works in the body to extract glucose from the blood and move it into the cells, where it can be converted into energy. If this process is inhibited, the glucose will remain in the blood and cannot be used as fuel. The body will naturally try to reduce the amount of glucose in the blood by expunging the excess in the urine. Typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Extreme thirst
- Passing urine more often
- Weight loss
Diabetes can be divided into three main types:
- Type 1 diabetes – the pancreas does not produce any insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes – the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells fail to react to the insulin.
- Gestational diabetes – this form of diabetes can occur during pregnancy, with the symptoms usually resolving after birth.
Type 2 diabetes is the result of the pancreas not producing enough insulin to control the glucose in the blood. Alternatively, the condition can occur when the body is unable to successfully use what insulin is being produced- this is known as insulin resistance.
The onset of type 2 diabetes can be caused by several factors. The four main risk factors are:
- Age – the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age. On average, as people get older, they tend to exercise less and gain weight.
- Genetics – your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases if you have a blood relative with the condition.
- Weight – Being overweight or obese significantly increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Ethnicity – South Asian, Chinese, African -Caribbean and Black-Africans are genetically more prone to developing type 2 diabetes. The condition is six times more prevalent within south Asian communities compared with the general UK population.