Estimates suggest that nearly one person in twenty-five in the UK is affected by diabetes mellitus, a condition which means that, due to a lack of insulin, the body cannot cope normally with sugar and other carbohydrates in the diet.
Diabetes can start in childhood, but more often begins in later life. It can cause complications which affect different parts of the body, the eye being one of them. There are two different types of diabetes mellitus:
- Type 1 diabetes, which can also be referred to as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). This type commonly occurs before the age of 30 and is the result of the body producing little or no insulin. Type 1 is controlled by insulin injections.
- Type 2 diabetes, which can also be referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). This type commonly occurs after the age of 40. In this type the body does produce some insulin, although the amount is either not sufficient or the body is not able to make proper use of it. This type of diabetes is generally controlled by diet or tablets, although some people in this group will require insulin injections.