Diabetes is a chronic disease characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood, often caused by problems with insulin production or functionality. Insulin is the hormone responsible for glucose absorption into cells. Therefore, any alteration in the amount of insulin produced or its functionality affects blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Diabetes is a highly prevalent disease. It is estimated that 5.6% of the population in Ireland is affected by this disease.
There are different types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin or produces an insufficient amount. It is also known as juvenile diabetes, as it often manifests in childhood or adolescence but can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes is the least common among the types of diabetes.
This form of diabetes is the most common and occurs in the majority of cases after the age of 45, but there are also cases of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. It occurs when cells do not respond normally to insulin or when insulin does not function properly, causing an increase in blood sugar levels.
Having high blood sugar levels for a prolonged period can be harmful, and early diagnosis is important. Type 2 diabetes develops gradually, and it may take years before obvious symptoms appear.
Prediabetes is a stage that precedes diabetes, where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to reach diabetes levels. Prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes, so it is important to know your sugar levels to detect any abnormalities in time.
If you have a family history of diabetes or are simply concerned about your health and want to monitor blood sugar levels to prevent future problems, the first step is to know your current condition.
There are different types of tests that can be used to assess the risk of diabetes or to determine if you are developing a prediabetic condition.
Remember, prevention is crucial. Take control of your health today and prioritise regular testing and monitoring of blood sugar levels. Being vigilant and proactive will allow you to effectively manage your health and ensure a healthier future.