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Samantha Morton-Herod
LMC Level 5
Unit CU4388 - Diabetes Awareness                                                      1. Understand diabetes and the associated implications
1.1 Define diabetes
Diabetes is a condition which affects the body’s ability to use glucose. Glucose is one of the body’s principle fuels and is an energy rich sugar that is broken down by the cells to produce a small packet of energy that powers the millions of biochemical reactions that constantly take place in the body. Simply put, glucose provides energy to all of the cells in the body. The cells take in glucose from the blood and break it down for energy. Some cells, such as brain cells and red blood cells, rely solely on glucose for fuel.

We obtain glucose from the food that we eat, mainly from starch rich foods such as potatoes, rice, bread and pasta. In the small intestine, glucose is absorbed into the blood and the blood travels to the liver through the hepatic portal vein. Cells in the liver absorb most of the glucose and convert it into glycogen. This is stored in the liver and be re-converted into glucose when blood glucose levels fall. The body tries to keep a constant supply of glucose for the cells by maintaining a constant glucose concentration in the blood stream; otherwise, the cells would have more than enough glucose right after a meal but not enough in between meals and overnight. When we have too much glucose, the body stores the excess in the liver and muscles by making glycogen. When glucose is in short supply, the body mobilises the glucose from stored glycogen and / or stimulates us to eat food. The overall aim is to maintain a constant blood glucose level.

Blood glucose is therefore a type of sugar produced by the body when it digests food. It is the major fuel used by our bodies to give us energy for daily life. The main function of blood glucose is to supply the body’s cells with energy.

Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to use glucose. Some diabetic people cannot produce enough glucose, others produce too much glucose.

1.2 Identify prevalence rates for different types of diabetes Diabetes UK has published a report looking at diabetes in the UK today and this report contains statistics relating to who is affected by diabetes and how they are affected.

Most health experts agree that the UK is facing a huge increase in the number of people with diabetes. Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased from 1.4 million to 2.9 million. A really shocking fact is that every three minutes, someone in the UK finds out that they have diabetes. If the rate of growth continues as it is then it is estimated that by 2025, five million people in the UK will have diabetes. Most of these cases will be Type 2 diabetes, because of our aging population and rapidly rising numbers of overweight and obese people.

Diabetes UK recognises that these figures are alarming and confirm that diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today. It is estimated that more than 1 in 20 people in the UK have diabetes, either diagnosed or undiagnosed.

In terms of those with diagnosed diabetes, there are presently 3.1 million people in the UK. By 2025, it is estimated that this figure will have risen to five million. It is estimated that 850,000 people in the UK have diabetes, but have not been medically diagnosed with the condition. For adults, Diabetes UK estimates that 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes and 90% have Type 2 diabetes.

1.3 Describe possible key long-term complications to health as a result of having diabetes There are many long term complications associated with the condition of diabetes. These include hypoglycaemia, hyperglycaemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, erectile dysfunction and hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state.

Hypoglycaemia is the most common side effect of...