What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is an incurable condition in which the body cannot control blood sugar levels because of problems with the hormone, insulin.
There are two main types of the illness, Type 1 and Type 2.

Do you know the difference?

Type 1 – where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
Type 2 – where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.

Type 2 is by far the more common type. 90% of adults with diabetes will have this type.

True or False?

  • Type 2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes
    FALSE: There is no such thing as ‘mild’ diabetes. All diabetes is serious and if not properly controlled can lead to serious complications

  • People with diabetes cannot have sugar
  • FALSE: Having diabetes does not mean you have to have a sugar-free diet. People with diabetes should follow a healthy balanced diet — that is low in fat, salt and sugar

  • It’s not safe to drive if you have diabetes
  • FALSE: Providing you are responsible and have good control of your diabetes, research shows that people with diabetes are no less safe on the roads than anyone else

  • Diabetes only affects overweight people
  • FALSE: Around 20% of people with type 2 diabetes are normal/underweight

What are the symptoms?
The 4 T’s are the common symptoms you should watch out for — if you or a family member have these symptoms, please contact your GP.

Toilet — Going to the toilet alot, especially at night
Thirsty — Being really thirsty
Tired — Feeling more tired than usual
Thinner — Losing weight without trying

What are the risk factors?

You may be at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes if you fall into one of these categories:

  • You’re two to six times more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes
  • You’re more at risk of type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight, especially if you’re large around the middle
  • You’re more at risk if you’re white and over 40 or over 25 if you’re African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian
  • Type 2 diabetes is two to four times more likely in people of South Asian descent, African-Caribbean or Black African descent
  • You’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure

Other risk factors are if:

  • You’ve ever had a heart attack or stroke
  • You have schizophrenia, bipolar illness or depression
  • You’re a woman who’s had polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes or a baby weighing over 10 pounds

What support is there?

For more information on Diabetes the following websites may support you further:


Information sourced from www.diabetes.org.uk