There are 2 main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. These account for around 98% of people with diabetes in the UK and the other 2% is made up of people with rarer types.
Blood Sugar Levels
Glucose is a sugar and is found in most food and drink. It is vital for the human body as it is one of the main sources of energy. So that the body always has a supply of glucose, it stores glucose in compact long chains of glycogen. This conversion is called glycogenesis, and the main enzyme required is insulin. When the body needs more glucose, a different process called glycogenolysis occurs. This is the conversion of glycogen back into glucose, and the enzyme required for this is called glucagon. The pancreas produces both of these enzymes. α-cells produce glucagon and β-cells produce insulin.
Type 1 Diabetes
About 8% of people who have diabetes have Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when the body is unable to produce any insulin and this type cannot be prevented. The body attacks the β-cells in the pancreas, meaning they do not produce insulin. The body cannot store glycogen because insulin is not produced. This means that lots of glucose remains in the blood, and this can cause serious damage to a range of organs in your body, such as the eyes, heart and kidneys.
Ketoacidosis can occur when not enough insulin is present and the body uses lots of fat for energy instead of glucose. Ketoacidosis is an emergency and the Emergency Medical Services need to be contacted immediately. It is the build up of harmful ketones in the body and they can do serious damage if not removed. Therefore you must seek treatment immediately. The most common treatment given at the hospital is an insulin injection.
Everyone with Type 1 diabetes will carry an insulin pump with them wherever they go. They will always monitor their blood glucose levels multiple times a day so that if it is too high, they can inject themselves with insulin. This will help to return their blood glucose levels to normal.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes accounts for most cases of diabetes in the U.K. (around 90%). This type of diabetes normally starts to present itself as adults. You can sometimes prevent it as diagnosis is heavily linked to genetics and lifestyle. If you are overweight or have a family history of people with Type 2 diabetes, you are at a much higher risk.
With Type 2 diabetes, the body still produces enough insulin, it is just that the body no longer reacts to it. This means that it is hard for the body to convert glucose into glycogen. This means that hyperglycemia (too high blood sugar levels) and hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar levels) are frequent occurrences.
You can usually treat hypoglycaemia with a sugary drink or snack. However, hyperglycemia is much harder to treat with Type 2, as the body will not respond to insulin. Therefore it is very important to manage your lifestyle, including diet and exercise, if you have Type 2 diabetes. The treatments for a diabetic emergency are glucose liquids, gels and tablets. Early treatment is very important in a medical emergency.
Here at ProTrainings, we offer a Diabetes Awareness course which you can find out more information if you follow the link.
For more information on training courses, visit our “Courses” page which also includes our First Responder and First Person on Scene (FPOS) Courses.