Diabetes occurs when there is a lack of a hormone called insulin in the body, or when the body does not respond properly to insulin. Insulin is released by an organ called the pancreas. It is responsible for letting glucose (sugar) in to the cells in the body to produce energy. Without insulin, the amount of glucose in the bloodstream builds up and becomes too high.
There are different types of diabetes…
Type 1 diabetes usually occurs before the age of 35. People with type 1 diabetes produce no insulin and therefore must treat their diabetes by injecting insulin in order to control their blood sugar level.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults over 40 years of age. People with type 2 diabetes make some insulin. In some cases, they may be treated with diet, exercise and weight loss. When these treatments are not effective, anti-diabetic medication or insulin injections may be required. Another form of diabetes is called Gestational diabetes. This is triggered by pregnancy. Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect insulin’s ability to work properly. The condition occurs in approximately 4% of all pregnancies.
Usually, blood sugar levels return to normal within six weeks of childbirth. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Currently, there is no cure for diabetes, so people with the condition need to manage it to stay healthy.
The symptoms of diabetes in somebody who hasn’t been diagnosed can vary depending on the individual and the type of diabetes.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Some common symptoms include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent passing of urine
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Recurrent thrush infections
- - Slow healing of wounds/recurrent infection
You may be at risk if:
- You are over the age of 40
- You are overweight (a BMI of 25 or higher)
- You have a family history of diabetes
- You had diabetes during pregnancy
- You do not get regular exercise (it is recommended to get 30 minutes of exercise five days per week)
- You have high blood pressure
- You have high cholesterol
How can I be assessed for diabetes?
Blood Glucose Test
Measuring your blood glucose will tell you how much sugar is in your blood. Your Life pharmacist can easily measure your blood glucose level and give you an immediate result. This test involves taking a small finger prick sample of blood.
Once your pharmacist has completed the measurement, they will discuss the result and what it means for you. They may discuss some lifestyle changes that would help reduce your risk of developing diabetes, or they may refer you onto your GP if they think you need further tests.
How can your Life Pharmacist help if you have diabetes?
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes your pharmacist is available to discuss your condition and your medicines.
We also have lots of other services to keep you in control of your diabetes.
Using your Blood Glucose Monitor
If you are diabetic it is important to keep control of your blood glucose levels. Follow your doctor’s instructions on how often you need to check your blood glucose using your blood glucose monitor. A member of your Life pharmacy team can advise you on the correct use of your blood glucose monitor.
Medicines Dispensing and Review
We can provide you with a review of your medicines to help you take the right doses at the right tim