We’re sure many of you have heard of diabetes, but did you know there are different types of diabetes and that having diabetes can lead to other health problems?
If a person has diabetes, it is extremely important they are diagnosed early. Doing so can help prevent medical emergencies, reduce the risk of life-changing injuries, and even save lives.
What is prediabetes or borderline diabetes?
According to Diabetes UK, prediabetes or borderline diabetes means that your blood sugars are higher than usual, but not high enough for you to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It also means that you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You are unlikely to be experiencing any symptoms with prediabetes.
What are the different types of diabetes?
There are many different types of diabetes, three of the more common types are:
• Type 1 – where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin meaning your body can’t make insulin. Insulin is needed to help your body use sugar for energy.
• Type 2 – where the body does not produce enough insulin, or where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly.
• Gestational diabetes – this type develops during pregnancy and can affect women who haven’t been affected by diabetes before.
The Diabetes UK website explains a range of other types of diabetes but these other types only account for about 2% of people.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type in the UK and around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
Can you prevent diabetes?
You can prevent Type 2 diabetes!
Research shows that if you eat a healthy diet, move more, and manage your weight, you can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by about 50%.
What common health problems could someone with diabetes face?
There are a range of different health problems someone with diabetes may face and these problems may develop very quickly, or they may develop over a longer period of time.
Some of the more common health problems which can develop quickly include:
• Hypos – when a person’s blood sugar levels are too low.
• Hypers– when a person’s blood sugar levels are too high.
• Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State (HHS) – when a person has severe dehydration and very high blood sugar. If untreated or not treated as urgently as it should, it can be life-threatening.
• Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – when a person has a severe lack of insulin in the body which leads to the body using fat for energy as opposed to sugar causing chemicals called ketones to be released. Again, if untreated or not treated as urgently as it should, it can be life-threatening.
Some of the more common health problems which can develop over a longer period include:
• Eye problems (retinopathy) – If untreated or not treated appropriately, a person may lose their sight.
• Foot problems – if a person with diabetes sustains a sore or a cut on their foot, it can take longer for that injury to heal and they could suffer wound healing problems. If left untreated or not treated properly, the consequences could be so serious a person may face amputation of their foot or leg.
• Heart attack and stroke – high blood sugar for a period can damage your blood vessels and can sometimes lead to heart attacks and strokes.
• Kidney problems (nephropathy) – Diabetes can cause damage to your kidneys over a long period of time making it harder to clear extra fluid and waste from your body. This is caused by high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. It is known as diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease.
Unfortunately, we often see cases where clinicians have failed to diagnose complications arising from diabetes in a timely manner resulting in life-changing or fatal injuries.
Bridge McFarland LLP’s medical negligence team can help if you think you or a loved one have been failed by a treating clinician.