What is diabetes?
More than 4 million people in the UK live with diabetes, but most don’t know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, even though they are very different.
Only about 8 per cent of people with diabetes in the UK have Type 1 Diabetes. It’s a lifelong condition caused by the pancreas not making a hormone called insulin. This means people with Type 1 Diabetes need to take insulin every day to keep their blood sugar levels under control. It is still unknown what causes Type 1 Diabetes, but it has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.
Around 90% of people with diabetes in the UK have Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes happens when the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. Some people can manage Type 2 Diabetes through healthy eating, being more active or losing weight, but most will need medication to bring their blood sugar down to a normal level.
Other types of diabetes include gestational diabetes and rarer forms such as Type 3c.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes include:
- Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- Being very thirsty
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Losing weight without trying to
- Genital itching or thrush
- Cuts and wounds taking longer to health
- Blurred eyesight
- Increased hunger
Having some symptoms doesn’t mean you definitely have diabetes, but you should always contact your GP just to make sure.
Where can I find support?
What can I do this diabetes week?
You can get involved in a number of events to support those living with diabetes, fundraise and increase awareness of the conditions. For example, Diabetes UK is encouraging people to get together with family and friends for the first ever Big Diabetes Week Dog Walk.