This is a chronic disease characterised by raised levels of glucose (sugar) in blood. It may be caused by a defective production of insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas to control the action of blood sugar, and resistance or both).
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: generally diagnosed during childhood, though many people are diagnosed when they are older than 20. In this type, the body produces no or little insulin and requires daily injections of the hormone, insulin. The specific cause is the destruction of beta cells (insulin producers) by an autoimmune process. It accounts for 5-10% of all cases of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes: this is by far more common than type 1 and accounts for the majority of all cases of diabetes (90-95%). It generally occurs in adulthood, although there are gradually more and more younger people being diagnosed. It is characterised by an impairment in insulin secretion and/or a decrease in action at tissue level. Many people with this type of diabetes are actually unaware that they have it in spite of the seriousness of the disease. This type of diabetes is alarmingly on the rise due to the growing prevalence of obesity and the lack of exercise.