What is it?

Diabetes is an incurable condition in which the body cannot control blood sugar levels, because of problems with the hormone insulin. There are two main types of the condition, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 Diabetes (also referred to as Mellitus Type 1or Juvenile Diabetes) is a form of diabetes that results from auto-immune destruction of cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. The subsequent lack of insulin leads to increased levels of glucose in the blood and urine. Symptoms which may indicate Type 1 Diabetes are: Frequent urination (polyuria), increased thirst (polydipsia), increased hunger (polyphagia) and weight loss.


Type 2 Diabetes (also referred to as Mellitus Type 2, NIDDM or Adult-Onset Diabetes) is a diabetic condition that results from insufficient insulin production in the pancreas. This is in contrast to Type 1 Diabetes, in which there is no production of insulin as a result of the destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas: Classic symptoms are excess thirst, frequent urination, and constant hunger. Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90% of all cases of diabetes with the other 10% due primarily to type 1 and gestational diabetes. Obesity is thought to be the primary cause of type 2 diabetes in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.


What causes Diabetes?

In type 1 diabetes, the body can no longer produce insulin as a result of auto-immune destruction of the insulin producing cells. Put simply, your body has attacked and destroyed the cells in the pancreas that produced insulin, a hormone that helps our body's cells absorb glucose from the blood. The cause of this is not entirely clear but it may be genetic and may include environmental factors. One theory is that type 1 diabetes may occur after having a viral attack. In type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the condition, the body either is either unable produce enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin. The risk of having type 2 diabetes increases with age.


Although the cause of type 2 diabetes is largely unknown, it is generally thought that a genetic pre-disposition to the disease and lifestyle may play a significant role. Type 2 diabetes has been linked to excess weight, genetic risk factors and inactivity.