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Guide to Diabetes

What is Diabetes? 


Did you Know: there are 4 million people with diabetes in the UK; approximately 10% will have type 1 diabetes and the other 90% type 2 diabetes


It is estimated that there are over 4 million people in the UK who have Diabetes Mellitus or Diabetes as it is commonly known. Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which there is a high amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and the body is unable to use it properly.

Diabetes can affect anyone at any age and happens when the gland in the body called the pancreas is unable to produce any or sufficient amounts of hormone known as insulin. Or it is unable to use insulin effectively. (insulin resistance)


No one really fully knows yet what causes diabetes but genetic factors, weight, lifestyle, environment and viruses have a part to play.


  • Diabetes is not catching and is not caused by eating too many sweets.

Diabetes Mellitus can be a hereditary condition i.e. if you have a family history of this condition you are more likely to develop diabetes. Diabetes can be more common in certain ethnic groups and we know that this is the case for people are of Asian, African or Caribbean background. Also if you are over weight and do very little exercise.


So how is glucose controlled by the body normally?


If the body is working properly, when we eat, the starchy and sugary food is broken down and digested. Some of the digested food is turned into glucose, which is then released into the blood stream. This causes the level of glucose in the bloodstream to rise. The rise in blood glucose stimulates the release of insulin from the beta cells of the pancreas. The insulin then allows the glucose to be transported from the bloodstream into the muscles where it provides energy for the body. The blood glucose level then falls, as the glucose has moved into the muscle to provide energy. Some of it is stored for use when you need it. The insulin level falls until the next time it is needed, for example at the next meal time.

Diabetes is diagnosed when normal insulin production of insulin or effectiveness goes wrong. 

If you have Diabetes

If you have diabetes the pancreas is unable to produce any or not enough insulin. Therefore when the glucose levels in the blood rises there will not be any or enough insulin to allow the glucose to be transported to the muscles to provide energy. The levels of glucose in the blood therefore get higher (hyperglycaemia) than it should and some may be passed out of the body in the urine. 

Type 2 what happens next booklet

Download our Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes- What Next? booklet 



Type 2 Diabetes - What Next?

Leicestershire Diabetes Patient Information leaflet Download Document