Birmingham has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the UK with nearly one in 10 people in some parts of the city have the condition.
Diabetes Week is just around the corner and aims to raise awareness of this common condition.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. It is important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.
Melanie Patel, diabetes specialist nurse at Heartlands Hospital, highlights there are two main types of diabetes: “Type 1 diabetes can develop very quickly, in a matter of days or weeks. Where Type 1 diabetes is present, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. As no insulin is produced, your glucose levels will increase, which can lead to body’s organs being seriously damaged.
“To help manage the condition, health and diet are vital and regularly monitoring your glucose levels will also help. To keep your glucose levels normal, you may need regular insulin treatment. This mainly comes in the form of insulin injections.
“Type 2 diabetes, also known as ‘maturity onset’ diabetes, usually develops later in life and is much more common than Type 1 diabetes. Where Type 2 diabetes is present, the body either does not produce the required amount of insulin, or the body’s cells simply don’t respond to the insulin, resulting in insulin resistance.
“Treating Type 2 diabetes is usually achieved through lifestyle choices, such as regular monitoring of blood glucose, as well as having a healthy and balanced diet. However this is a progressive form of the disease and may eventually result in the need for medication – usually in tablet form. Some people with Type 2 diabetes will also need insulin injections.
“In both cases the symptoms are similar and will include an increased desire to drink as a result of being frequently thirsty, feeling very tired, losing weight and muscle bulk, and needing to urinate a lot, especially at night.”
Heartlands diabetes centre is one of the oldest and largest in the country providing a wide range of services to over 10,000 patients every year and accounting for nearly 26,000 visits annually.
For more information on diabetes, please visit: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/.
Diabetes Week takes place between 14 June and 20 June 2015.