Facts about Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects around 3-4 million people in the UK 10 – 15% of whom have Type 1 diabetes and 85 – 90% of whom have Type 2 diabetes. In the UK over 20,000 children with Type 1 diabetes are under 15 years of age.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes affects about 85 – 90% of people with diabetes and it is believed well over 2 million people are affected in the UK and a similar number undiagnosed. It occurs mainly in people over 40 and is often referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes.

In Type 2 diabetes the pancreas often still produces some insulin but either not enough or it is not used properly by the various organs in the body (so there can at times be too much insulin in the body).

Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise alone and sometimes with blood glucose lowering drugs. If this fails to reduce the blood glucose levels sufficiently then treatment with insulin is required. On average people with Type 2 diabetes often have to start in insulin about 7 years after diagnosis.

Type 2 diabetes can remain undiagnosed for several years during which time the blood glucose levels run too high often causing damage and complications of diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes are often diagnosed as a result of having complications rather than because they suspect they may have Type 2 diabetes.

There is a tendency for Type 2 diabetes to run in families however a sedentary lifestyle with lack of exercise, being overweight or obese, and overeating and overindulgence are often causes. This is why a healthy diet with fruit and vegetables, healthy eating and any alcohol consumption in moderation and having a reduction in sugar loaded foods, avoiding smoking, are all very important in attempts to prevent onset of Type 2 diabetes and in the lifestyle management of people diagnosed with the condition.