Diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by high blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia). Diabetes occurs when the pancreas loses its ability to produce enough insulin (a type of hormone), or when the body does not respond to insulin action. When blood glucose (sugar) levels increase, after we eat, the pancreas secretes insulin to help body cells convert glucose into energy, or to store it.
In people with Diabetes, instead of the glucose being converted to energy, it remains in the blood, therefore leading to higher than normal blood glucose levels. People with Diabetes have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular (heart-related) diseases, because it is often associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and obesity.
There are three main types of Diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes occurs when no insulin is produced, known as insulin-dependent Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes occurs when insulin is ineffective, known as non-insulin-dependent Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) occurs in 2-5% of pregnant women not previously diagnosed with Diabetes. It is often associated with Type 2 Diabetes: