There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, while type 2 diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. The symptoms can differ, and often be hard to spot, though there are several indicators to look out for around your mood, skin and gums.
The NHS says that type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. Indeed, in the UK, around 90 percent of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
The Mayo Clinic notes that diabetes symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated.
“Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may sometimes not experience symptoms. In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe,” it adds.
Indeed, the NHS says that many people have type 2 diabetes for years “without realising” because the early symptoms tend to be general.
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The Mayo Clinic says type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence.
Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age, though it is more common in people older than 40.
You can help manage type 2 diabetes through healthy eating and exercise, while you cannot influence type 1 through lifestyle changes.
“It’s very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated,” notes the NHS.
The Mayo Clinic has outlined a number of signs which can occur in people with diabetes, some of which surround your mood, skin and gums.
It says that frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections, are all signs.
Moreover, feeling irritable may also be a symptom, the site adds.
According to the NHS, the main symptoms are feeling very thirsty, peeing more frequently than usual, feeling very tired, weight loss and loss of muscle bulk, cuts or wounds that heal slowly, and blurred vision.
You should visit your GP if you have symptoms, but it is also advised that you see your GP if you have risk factors of diabetes and are worried about developing diabetes in future.
The NHS says you’re more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you are over 40, or 25 for south Asian people, have a close relative with diabetes, are overweight or obese or are of Asian, African-Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK).
Some people will also have pre-diabetes. This means that you have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes.
Diabetes cases are set to rise to five million by 2025, according to Diabetes UK. The number of diabetes patients has more than doubled since 1996.
NHS Inform says: “If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be able to control your symptoms simply by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and monitoring your blood glucose levels.
“However, as type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, you may eventually need medication, usually in the form of tablets.”
Diabetes UK says: “If you have diabetes, you are no more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else.
“However people with diabetes are more vulnerable to developing a severe illness if they do get coronavirus, but the way it affects you can vary from person to person.”