Facts about diabetes

As a specialist dietitian for diabetes and other long term chronic conditions I can provide clear evidence based advice for individuals or businesses.

Be rest assured that I can clarify fact from fiction and provide simple nutrition advice tailored to my audience.

There is so much confusing information available on diabetes that it can often be frustrating to know what you can trust. I have outlined some key facts below which I hope will be of interest.

Listen to this educational video kindly prepared by Maleeha Ali (Student at the University of Leeds)

Video on diabetes kindly prepared by Nutrition student Maleeha

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition affecting the body’s blood glucose level.  Glucose is our body’s main source of energy and we obtain glucose when our bodies break down carbohydrates.

After we eat, our blood glucose levels rise. The presence of glucose in the blood causes our pancreas to release insulin which causes body cells to take up this extra glucose and use it for energy.

Diabetes occurs when our bodies cannot use insulin correctly. Both types of diabetes cause a build-up of glucose in the blood, and this in turn can lead to symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss,  infection, slow healing of wounds and complications with heart, lungs, eyes and kidneys.

Type 1 diabetes

  • Our bodies cannot produce insulin.
  • This means we cannot control blood glucose levels after meals which results in blood glucose getting too high and body cells being deprived of glucose.

Type 2 diabetes

  • Our bodies become resisitant to the effects of insulin
  • We may be able to produce insulin but not in the required amounts and may not be effective in moving glucose into body cells.
  • Can lead to high levels of both glucose and insulin in the blood.

Gestational diabetes

  • Occurs during pregnancy when hormones  released from the placenta raises the mothers blood glucose levels and makes her body less sensitive to insulin.
  • At 15 weeks, another hormone is released which helps regulate the mother’s blood glucose level,  to make sure that the baby receives enough nutrients but can also cause the blood glucose level in the mother to go too high.

Facts about diabetes

  • 90% of diabetes patients have type 2 diabetes.
  • 8% have type 1.
  • More than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes.
  • 13.6 million people are now at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the UK.
  • You are more at risk of type 2 diabetes if you have a close family member who has diabetes.
  • Combined  lifestyle interventions including diet, physical activity and sustained weight loss reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50%.