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  1. ITV Report

What is Diabetes?

A patient undergoing a blood test for diabetes Photo: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire

A new diabetes centre is being opened in Leicester today by five-time Olympic gold medallist rower, Sir Steve Redgrave. The multi-million pound facility at Leicester General Hospital is one of the largest diabetes centres in Europe.

Here is everything about the condition, including the symptoms and causes.

What is diabetes?

The NHS state that diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. There two main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes usually develops before the age of 40
  • The pancreas does not produce any insulin if a person has type 1 diabetes
  • Those with type 1 diabetes will have to take insulin injections for life
  • Making sure blood glucose levels stay balanced is important

Type 2 diabetes

  • If a person has type 2 diabetes, their body does not produce enough insulin, or their cells do not react to it
  • Type 2 is far more common than type 1 diabetes
  • In the UK, around 90 per cent of adults with the condition have type 2 diabetes
  • Type 2 tends to affect people over the age of 40

Diabetes symptoms

  • Feeling very tired
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Frequent urinating
  • Loss of weight and muscle bulk (type 1)

Causes of diabetes

The hormone 'insulin' usually controls the amount of sugar in the blood, which is produced by the pancreas. When a person consumes food, it enters the bloodstream, where insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into the body's cells, where it produces energy. If a person has the condition, their body is unable to break down glucose into energy, because there is either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.

For more information on diabetes, visit the NHS website.