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Diabetes

Overview

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that happens when a person's blood sugar (glucose) level becomes too high because the body can't use it. It can cause serious health problems if it is not treated.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes

The body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin which means the body cannot make any insulin.

Around 10% of all adults with diabetes have type 1 and daily doses of insulin are required to treat it. There are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes, however a healthy diet and exercise are recommended.

Type 2 diabetes

The body doesn't make enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin.

Healthy diet and increased exercise are used to treat type 2 and medication is often required. Around 90% of all adults with diabetes in the UK have type 2.

Other types of diabetes

  • Gestational diabetes is when some women don't produce enough insulin to absorb the high levels of blood glucose produced during pregnancy
  • Pre-diabetes is when your blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes

Visit Diabetes UK for more information.