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Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease which is characterised by high blood sugar levels for a long period of time. This condition is cause by either the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the body cells not responding correctly to the insulin produced. There are three main kinds of diabetes but for the purpose of this article, we will just explore type 1 and type 2. Gestational diabetes will be discussed at a later stage.
Type 1 Diabetes
This form of diabetes is usually diagnosed early in life. In the case of type 1 diabetes the body does not produce insulin naturally in the pancreas. When food is consumed the body breaks it down into simple sugars called glucose which is used to power the cells of the body.
Insulin is the hormone found in the cells that moves glucose from the blood stream into the body cells. If the pancreas is not producing insulin for itself the condition will need to be managed through insulin therapy which involves injecting insulin manually into the body.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is characterised by an insulin resistance in which the body cells do not respond correctly to glucose in the blood stream and as such the blood glucose levels rise higher than normal which results in hyperglycaemia.
The pancreas produces extra insulin to make up for the excess glucose but over time this production isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose at normal levels thus ‘burning out’ the pancreas. The primary cause of diabetes type 2 is excessive body fat.
With the help of exercise and medication both type 1 and type 2 Diabetes can be managed.