Diabetes: Facts and Figures
Recent research completed by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) showed that many parents struggle to spot the warning signs and symptoms of diabetes in their own children. An alarming 80% of parents would not recognise the warning signs and one third wouldn’t spot them at all, although the majority of participants surveyed had family members with diabetes.
What is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus is a serious condition where your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, level is too high. Blood glucose is our body and brain’s main energy source and comes from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas, helps glucose enter the cells to be used for energy. But sometimes our bodies don’t make enough – or any – insulin or don’t use the insulin well and then the glucose stays in the blood and cannot reach the cells.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of diabetes include the following:
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can present rapidly, in a matter of weeks. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly—over the course of several years—and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart problems.
What causes Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Scientists suspect that type 1 diabetes is caused by genetic and environmental factors, such as viruses, that might trigger the disease.
What causes Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?
Type 2 diabetes—the most common form of diabetes—is caused by several factors, including lifestyle factors and genes.
Overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity
Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?
You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, certain ethnic groups and health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have pre-diabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.
Over time, high blood glucose and uncontrolled diabetes leads to health problems such as:
The key is early detection and therefore regular check-ups and screenings are vital.
The IDF has formulated a quick online risk assessment to learn about your risk of type 2 diabetes, complete it at this link and encourage your family members and colleagues to do the same: https://www.idf.org/type-2-diabetes-risk-assessment/
For more information, please visit www.worlddiabetesday.org