Diabetes currently affects around 1 in 20 of people in the UK alone, and that’s just based on the figures of those who have been diagnosed. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 with only 5-15% of diabetics diagnosed with type 1. The 2 types of diabetes are intrinsically different.
Type 1 diabetes tends to be most prevalent in children, an autoimmune condition that individuals on born with rather than develop. Type 2 tends to be based more around genetic family history, as well as diet and excess weight gain. On average, type 1 diabetes progresses far quicker than type 2. This is why it is so important that if you suspect your child may have symptoms to get them properly looked at by a doctor. Type 2 diabetes is usually slow to progress and largely affects adults over 40, though more cases are now developing in younger generations due to poor diet and lack of exercise.
Common signs of both type 1 and 2 diabetes are marked vision impairment, consistent fatigue regardless of sleep, and an increased thirst with overly dry mouth. A symptom distinctive to type 1 alone is a marked loss of weight. Those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may have had symptoms such as persistent yeast infections, easily bruised skin and wounds and grazes taking a longer time to heal.
When diagnosing diabetes, doctors may decide to do a simple urine test before resorting to a blood test. Though a urine test is not as exact as a blood test, it can provide a good indication of what is going on inside the body. A basic dipstick test is performed to examine whether the patient has excess levels of glucose in the urine and thus the body- the cause of diabetes.
If a blood test is required it is likely the patient will be asked to fast for at least 8 hours prior to the FPG [Fasting Plasma Glucose test]. Normal amounts of blood sugar are usually around 70-100mgs/dL. If the blood test shows results greater than 126mg/dL it is likely the patient will be diagnosed with diabetes. Ignoring symptoms of diabetes can be potentially life-threatening.
If you do have any doubts at all regarding either yourself or a family member, it pays to trust your instincts and visit your local GP as quickly as possible. If in doubt, check it out!
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Thanks to Jane Preston for this post. Jane is a type 1 diabetes charity worker and blogs regularly about the condition.