Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body can’t use glucose (a type of sugar) normally. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. The levels of glucose in the blood are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made by the pancreas. Insulin helps glucose to enter the cells.
Diabetes is caused when there is resistance to, or deficient production of insulin, which helps glucose move from the blood into the body’s cells. When the body does not produce or use enough insulin, the cells cannot use the glucose for energy and the blood glucose level rises. This means that the body will instead start to break down its own fat and muscle for energy.1
Globally, there has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of diabetes. It is estimated that if the current world wide trend prevails, there will be 380 million people affected by diabetes by the year 2025.2 Even though diabetes affects nearly 4% of the world’s population,3 many people know very little about the disease.
There are 2 primary types of diabetes:
A hormone produced in the beta cells in the pancreas. The body uses insulin to let glucose enter cells, where it is used for energy.
Also known as type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin or extremely small amounts. People with type 1 need to take insulin injections in order to survive.
Now known as type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin or extremely small amounts. People with type 1 need to take insulin injections in order to survive.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for more than 85-90% of people with diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas may make enough insulin, but the body cannot effectively use the insulin it creates. This is known as insulin resistance. Eventually, the pancreas may stop producing insulin altogether.
Type 2 diabetes traditionally affects people later in life, but can affect people at any age.
Additional risk factors or characteristics for type 2 diabetes include
Some population groups are at much higher risk. Type 2 diabetes in New Zealand affects Maori, Pacific and South East Asian people disproportionately compared to New Zealand Europeans.1
Because type 2 diabetes develops slowly and is often hard to detect, many people are not diagnosed until various complications appear. One-third of all people with diabetes may be undiagnosed.2
Depending on its severity, type 2 diabetes can be managed through diet and physical activity, oral medications, or insulin injections, though a combination of these therapies are often prescribed. Self-monitoring of your blood glucose can help measure the success of your therapy.