Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a common health condition affecting more than one in 17 people in the UK. Most of these people have Type 2 Diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. In Type 1 Diabetes the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin so blood glucose rises above normal levels. Most cases of Type 1 Diabetes are diagnosed in young people.

In Type 2 Diabetes the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to help glucose enter your body’s cells and so remains in the blood. Sometimes the insulin that is produced does not work properly. This is known as insulin resistance. Type 2 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in adults but increasing numbers of overweight children are developing the disease.

Due to the lack of insulin or its inability to regulate blood glucose, blood glucose levels may become very high in diabetes. This is known as hyperglycaemia.

What are the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

Hyperglycaemia causes the main symptoms of diabetes, which include feeling very thirsty, passing more urine than usual and feeling tired all the time.

It is important to know that the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes develop gradually and may go undetected for many years. It is estimated that over half a million people in the UK have Type 2 Diabetes without knowing about it. The longer Type 2 Diabetes goes undetected the more damage it can do to the eyes, kidneys and cardiovascular system.

Who is likely to get Type 2 Diabetes?

Being overweight is a key risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes. Slightly more men than women get the disease and being over 40 also increases your risk.

Life style factors are really important

A poor diet and lack of physical activity are key risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes. A diet that is too high in calories, fat, sugar and low in fruit and vegetables increases the risk of weight gain and Type 2 Diabetes.

What sort of diet should be eaten to lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

A diet that is mainly plant based including lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grain cereals with small amounts of meat and dairy produce will help to keep body weight in check. Including plant milk may help to reduce calories and saturated fat in the diet.

How do I know if I have Type 2 Diabetes?

If you are overweight or over 40 you should ask your GP for a test for type 2 diabetes

What is the impact of Type 2 Diabetes on health?

People with diabetes have about twice the risk of developing a range of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and hardening and narrowing of the arteries compared with those without diabetes. There is also a higher risk of kidney and eye disease and limb amputation.

How is Type 2 Diabetes treated?

Depending on the severity of the Type 2 Diabetes treatment may include medication to reduce blood glucose levels which could include daily injections of insulin. Life style changes can really help with the control of blood glucose levels.

What life style changes can help to control Type 2 Diabetes?

Reducing weight, eating a healthy diet and leading an active, healthy lifestyle can be enough to keep the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes under control in some people without the use of medication.

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