What is diabetes?
Diabetes Mellitus is a common condition which causes an elevation of sugar (Glucose) levels in the blood. Around 3.5 million people have been diagnosed with the condition in the UK, and it's believed a further estimated 850,000 or more are living with the condition undiagnosed.
It is the leading cause of adult blindness and amputation and is a major cause or renal failure, heart attacks and strokes.
Normally, the body controls the level of glucose in the blood by producing a hormone in the pancreas called insulin, glucose from dietary carbohydrate and the liver is allowed into the cells by insulin to then be broken down into energy.
However, when this normal body system doesn't work correctly or begins to work less well, it is known as diabetes.
Two types of diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Of the diagnosed cases, 10% have type 1, which is most common in the under 35 age group with onset and symptoms usually showing and developing rapidly during childhood or puberty.
90% of cases have type 2, which is most common in the white over 35's and South Asian over 25's populations, with onset and symptoms developing gradually.
However, an increasing number of children are now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.