Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is when no insulin is produced at all because the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Nobody knows for sure why these cells have been damaged but the most likely cause is the body having an abnormal reaction to the cells. There is nothing that you can do to prevent Type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes is always treated with insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is when the body either does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin it produces does not work as well as it should (insulin resistance). This type of diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes, following a healthy balanced diet, increasing physical activity, and losing weight if you need to. Some people may need medications and/or insulin injections to achieve normal blood glucose levels.
Some of the risks factors associated with Type 2 diabetes are out of your control while others, such as being overweight, you can act on to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. You should ask your GP for a test for diabetes, if you:
- are white and over 40 years old
- are black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group and over 25 years old
- have one or more of the following risk factors.
The risk factors
- A close member of your family has Type 2 diabetes (parent or brother or sister).
- You're overweight or if your waist is 31.5 inches or over for women; 35 inches or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for white and black men.
- You have high blood pressure or you've had a heart attack or a stroke.
- You're a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and you are overweight.
- You've been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia.
- If you're a woman and you've had gestational diabetes.
- You have severe mental health problems.
The more risk factors that apply to you, the greater your risk of having diabetes.
Some things that do not cause diabetes
- Eating sweets and sugar does not cause diabetes,but eating a lot of sugary and fatty foods can lead to being overweight.
- You cannot catch diabetes, like a cold.
- Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may make the symptoms worse in people who already have the condition.
- An accident or an illness will not cause diabetes but may reveal diabetes if it is already there.