The total number of people living with diabetes in Ireland is estimated to be 225,840.
The International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas (2013) estimate that there are 207,490 people with diabetes in Ireland in the 20 – 79 age group (prevalence of 6.5% in the population) which is in line with previous estimates that by 2020 there would be 233,000 people with the condition, and by 2030 there would be 278,850 people with the condition.
Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong condition caused by a lack, or insufficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone – a substance of vital importance that is made by your pancreas. Insulin acts like a key to open the doors into your cells, letting sugar (glucose) in. In diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin to enable all the sugar in your blood to get into your muscle and other cells to produce energy. If sugar can’t get into the cells to be used, it builds up in the bloodstream. Therefore, diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Before you got diabetes
Before you got diabetes, your body automatically kept your blood sugar exactly at the right level. Here is how that worked. After a meal containing carbohydrates, sugar is absorbed into the blood stream very quickly. The amount of sugar in your blood must not get too high or too low. Two hormones – insulin and glucagon – were produced in the pancreas – to ensure that the blood sugar was always well controlled no matter how much you had to eat and how much you exercised.
Types of diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus is the most common and there is two different categories:
Type 1 diabetes tends to occur in childhood or early adult life, and always requires treatment with insulin injections. It is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying the insulin-making cells (beta-cells) of the pancreas.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly in adulthood. It is progressive and can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise, but more often Type 2 diabetes may require antidiabetic medicine and/or insulin injections.
7 Signs of Diabetes to look out for
1. Excessive Hunger
Excessive hunger can be a sign of diabetes, stemming from sharp highs and lows in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels plummet, the body believes that it hasn’t been fed, causing it to crave more of the glucose that cells need in order to function.
High blood sugar levels in the body can cause fatigue and irritability. The body has to work harder to compensate for its glucose deficiency, so someone suffering from diabetes may become tired more quickly and easily. Being tired can lead to irritability.
3. Increased Urination / Constant Thirst
Diabetes causes the kidneys to kick into a higher gear while trying to get rid of all the extra glucose in the blood. With the kidneys working harder, you may experience the urge to urinate more often, including several times during the night. Excessive thirst is the body’s way of trying to replenish lost fluids.
4. Dry and Itchy Skin
Dry and itchy skin can be the result of poor circulation — a possible early warning sign of diabetes. This symptom can also be the result of losing more fluids to urination, which can lead to dehydration.
5. Blurry Vision
Distorted vision is a direct result of high blood sugar levels. When glucose in the blood is high, it can actuallychange the shape of the lens. This symptom will subside once blood sugar levels are returned to normal, but ignoring this early warning sign and allowing blood sugar levels to stay high for too long can cause permanent damage.
6. Yeast Infections
The body is in an immunosupressed state when it develops diabetes, meaning someone with diabetes becomes more prone to infections. The most common are yeast infections, along with other fungal infections.
7. Slow-Healing Cuts or Sores
Diabetes can slow the healing of infections, cuts and bruises. This happens because the blood vessels are being damaged by the excessive amounts of glucose traveling through the veins and arteries, making it more difficult for blood (needed for healing) to reach different areas of the body.
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Source: Diabetes Ireland, David Wolfe.com