Diabetes is a serious, life-long chronic condition that effects nearly 300,000 people in Scotland.
In Scotland one in 20 people have diabetes, whether this be Type 1 or Type 2. At the end of 2013 there were 268,154 people diagnosed with diabetes on Scotland’s health registers – of this number 88.2% were on record as having Type 2.
Diabetes is a common health condition in all around the world, however it can go undetected for many years which can lead to the development of other symptoms which is why it’s important to make a diagnosis as soon as possible.
The risk factors for each type are very different which we’ll break down here:
Both types of diabetes result in your body not being able to use insulin properly to extract glucose from the food that you eat, this means that you are likely to have the same symptoms for both types these include:
Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes
As Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed earlier in most people it tends to be easier to get into the habit of treating oneself.
Treatment usually takes the form of an insulin injection which will control your blood glucose levels. You might take a basal insulin shot once or twice a day to keep your glucose levels stable between meals or whilst you sleep. Otherwise it’s likely that you’ll take bolus insulin at mealtimes, this fast-acting shot works to reduce the rise in blood glucose caused by the meal or drink.
In order for you to remain healthy you will need to regularly check your own blood glucose levels.
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
As Type 2 Diabetes is much a much more common condition there are many more medications that you can try to keep your blood sugar at a safe level. Unfortunately, the symptoms of diabetes tend to get worse as time goes on, this may mean that you’ll need to change your medication as time goes on.
You’ll most likely be offered metformin when you’re first diagnosed, if this does not help lower your blood sugar during the first 3 months then your doctor may suggest that you take something else. The side effects for each of these drugs vary but can include: digestive issues, weight fluctuations and nausea.
The good news is that if you’re living in the UK you are entitled to free diabetes medication. You can apply for an exemption certificate by filling in a form at your GP surgery. You’ll receive a certificate which will last you 5 years, with this you’ll be able to receive free medication from your pharmacy.
The equipment that you’ll need to measure your blood sugar level is compact and easy to use, most of it is battery operated, so you won’t need to lug around an AC-DC power supply with you. The important thing is that you familiarise yourself with this new technology and work it into your daily routine as quickly as possible. Talk to your GP for advice on how to treat your diabetes safely on a day to day basis.
Regardless of the type you have living with diabetes is a challenge that requires constant vigilance and a certain amount of common sense, however it is a condition that you can still live a relatively normal life with.