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Guide by Condition: Diabetes

Posted by Emily Ryan on

Understanding and living with diabetes

Diabetes is a lifelong condition which causes the individual’s blood sugar levels to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes, with a range of symptoms.

Types of diabetes

There are two types of diabetes:

  • type 1 diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • type 2 diabetes – where the body doesn't produce enough insulin or the body's cells don't react to insulin

What causes diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to break down glucose into energy, due to there not being enough insulin to move the glucose into the cells, or the insulin produced by the pancreas doesn’t work properly. The risk of type 1 diabetes cannot be lowered by lifestyle changes, but type 2 diabetes is often linked to being overweight.

 

Living with diabetes

Individuals with diabetes may need to eat healthily, exercise regularly and carry out regular blood tests to ensure that glucose levels stay balanced. If you have type 1 diabetes, you may also require regular insulin injections for the rest of your life, whilst tablets may be required for type 2 diabetes, which is a progressive condition.

 

Treatment for diabetes

Although diabetes has no cure, symptoms can be controlled by keeping glucose levels as normal as possible. For individuals with type 1 diabetes, insulin injections are required regularly, either in the form of a needle or an under-skin pump. Monitoring your blood glucose levels regularly will ensure that your blood is as normal and as stable as possible.

For individuals with type 2 diabetes, medication may be required regularly, usually in the form of tablets. A medicine called metformin is usually prescribed initially, with another stronger medicine being recommended if your blood sugar levels don’t stabilise within three months.

 

More information

NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/#living-with-diabetes
Diabetes UK: https://www.diabetes.org.uk
My Diabetes My Way: https://www.mydiabetesmyway.scot.nhs.uk
Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation: https://www.drwf.org.uk

     


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