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9 facts you may not have known about Diabetes

9 facts you may not have known about Diabetes
Posted on June 07, 2016
Archive : June 2016
Category : News

Fact 1: Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by eating sugar and cannot be prevented.  

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that develops when our immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is essential for regulating blood sugars in the body. Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented as far as we are aware and is nothing to do with lifestyle choices. This disease also is more likely to occur in children.

FACT 2: Type 2 Diabetes isn’t necessarily caused by diet and being overweight.  

Type 2 Diabetes is commonly linked with obesity – however there are a range of causes including genetics and a natural rise of blood sugars that occurs as we age. At least 1 in 5 of people with Type 2 diabetes are a healthy body weight.

FACT 3: There could be as many as 4 types of diabetes.

Obviously we know about Type 1 and Type 2 (even if not previously, then after reading this article). The following are also types of diabetes just less well known. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman is pregnant. She doesn’t necessarily develop Diabetes after giving birth but strict monitoring is necessary during the gestation period and afterwards.  MODY – Maturity onset Diabetes of the young. This is a rare form of diabetes which is different to Type 1 and Type 2 and runs strongly within families. It is caused by a mutation in a single gene. If a child inherits this gene it will go on to develop MODY before they are 25, irrespective of their diet or lifestyle. LADA - Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood. LADA is a form of type 1 that develops later into adulthood but some symptoms are similar to Type 2 so can be mistakenly diagnosed.

Type 3 Diabetes is a proposed term for Alzheimer’s due to the links between Alzheimer’s and blood glucose levels in the brain.

Type 4 Diabetes – It has been suggested that after a recent study, there is a 4th type of diabetes. It would be used to describe Type 2 diabetes caused by ageing rather than diet or genetics.

FACT 4: Diabetes can be very serious – leading to heart disease, visual impairment, kidney problems, nerve damage and amputations.                         

Diabetes isn’t just about having the odd insulin injection and watching what you eat. Diabetes needs daily management and constant monitoring and can lead to the previously mentioned conditions.

Fact 5: Diabetes can lead to serious emotional problems including depression and ‘burnout’.

Diabetics are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from depression due to the day to day dealing with this chronic disease. Burnout is used to describe diabetics who feel completely hopeless. Those suffering from burnout sometimes neglect to take medication and to control their diabetes, which increases the chances of them developing complications.

Fact 6: Diabetes can seriously affect your relationships.

Dealing with Diabetes day by day puts extra pressure on relationships. It can put people off even developing a relationship with someone once they have found out about their diabetes.

Fact 7: Its not recommended to eat food that is specifically labelled for 'diabetics' - the term is misleading

Food that is labelled 'diabetic' is usually products which are high in fat and sugar like sweets, chocolate and biscuits. This food tends to be more expensive than non 'diabetic' equivalents, still affects your glucose levels and with diabetic chocolate as an example, can give you diarrhoea. If you are wanting to treat yourself you are better going for the real thing.*

Fact 8: Its not just food that affects blood sugars

There are a huge number of variants that affect blood sugars - food is only one! How about the weather, stress, sex, alcohol, sleep, exercise, steroids, anti-psychotic medication, dehydration and pain?

Diabetics have so many variables to try and balance every day to control their blood sugars – give them a break!

Fact 9: Diabetes can affect your sex life. 

For men this includes erectile dysfunction, retarded ejaculation and reduced sperm quality. For women, they may suffer from vaginitis and cystitis.

The key is to raise awareness of this disease, its causes and its effects so that there is more understanding, less judgement and therefore less stigma attached to Type 2 specifically. It is not ‘their fault’ and their illness is something they have to deal with day in day out, balancing lots of variables.

This article was based on one that Kurt Wood wrote for the Diabetes.co.uk website and some additional* information from the Diabetes UK website.

To see the whole article, look here:


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