Information on diabetes, the types and what you can do to reduce your risk.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong and serious condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.

It can happen when: 

  • your body doesn't produce enough insulin (a hormone produced in the Pancreas 
  • the insulin it produces isn't effective or 
  • your body can't produce any insulin at all. 

Types of diabetes 

There are 2 main types of diabetes: 

  • Type 1 - where the pancreas doesn't produce any insulin and is not related to lifestyle 
  • Type 2 - where the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body's cells don't react to insulin (often associated with obesity, tends to be diagnosed in older people and is far more common than type 1 diabetes) 

Signs and symptoms

Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.

Undiagnosed and untreated diabetes can have serious long-term health implications, including cardiovascular disease, blindness, foot ulcers, kidney disease and lower limb amputation. 

Check the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Are you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes?

You're more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you:

  • are over the age of 40 (over 25 for South Asian people) 
  • have a close relative with the condition (parent, brother or sister) 
  • are overweight or obese 
  • are of south Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or black African origin.

Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes are also at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Find out your risk of type 2 diabetes

Reduce your risk 

The good news is that type 2 diabetes is often preventable with simple lifestyle changes and there's lots of support that can help you.

Healthier You is a type 2 diabetes prevention programme that helps residents reduce their risk of developing the condition.  

You can also get free type 2 diabetes prevention support as part of a local group or through an online app - visit www.preventing-diabetes.co.uk or call 0333 577 3010 for more information.

If you're at risk of type 2 diabetes, you should also: 

If you already have type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to control your symptoms by making these changes. This will also reduce your risk of developing complications. 

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Page last updated: 17 Apr 2024