Understanding Diabetes

There are two type of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes isn’t linked with age or being overweight. The causes are unknown and it is unpreventable. Only 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common. It is linked to lifestyle factors and develops over time. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, it is largely preventable.


People in the UK are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

The Disease

Type 2 diabetes is where the body stops producing enough insulin, or the body’s cells stop reacting to insulin. These means that the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood becomes too high.

The Symptoms

Having too much glucose in your blood means you might:

Wee more than usual, particularly at night

Feel very tired

Lose weight without trying too

Cuts or wounds take longer to heal than usual

Feel thirsty all the time

Have itching around your genitals

Suffer blurred vision

However, many people have Type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because the symptoms don’t necessary make you feel unwell.

The Causes

The reasons the body stops producing enough insulin and your blood sugar level rises are often linked to your lifestyle or some risk factors, such as:

  • Being over 40 & white, or over 25 & African-Caribbean, Black-African, Chinese or South Asian
  • A family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • A history of a heart attack or stroke
  • A history of schizophrenia, bipolar illness or depression, or if you are receiving treatment with anti-psychotic medication
  • You’ve had polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes, or a baby weighing over 10 pounds
Check your risk here:


Type 2 diabetes if often diagnosed following a blood or urine test by your GP.

Your test results may show that you are starting to develop the disease, but that managing your lifestyle will slow or stop it. Your GP may refer you to Healthier You to help with this.

There are currently 3.4 million people with the disease in England. 200,000 new diagnoses are made every year.

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable thorough lifestyle changes.