What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes elevated blood glucose levels, which can lead to damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.

There are two types of diabetes being type 1 and type 2.

Type 2 diabetes arises when cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin leading to an elevated blood glucose level. Insulin production from the pancreas decreases overtime eventually leading to insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes makes up more than 80% of diabetes in the community and usually occurs in adults over 45 years old. The cause of type 2 diabetes is not fully known, however, modifiable lifestyle-related factors such as being overweight, diminished physical activity and genetic factors could contribute.

Type 1 diabetes arises when pancreatic islet beta cells that produce insulin are destroyed leading to a loss of insulin production. Type 1 diabetes usually arises during childhood and adolescence. The precise cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Some possible causes include: the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking pancreatic islet cells, genetic factors or exposure to environmental factors.

Diabetes can be managed with weight reduction, healthy eating and regular exercise.