Did you know: an estimated 360 million people world-wide suffered from Diabetes Mellitus. This staggering statistic is increasing year on year, alongside the global obesity crisis: in the UK, 20% of 10/11 year olds are now obese!

With so many people now suffering from diabetes, it's important to be aware of the risk-factors and symptoms, which may lead to a diagnosis of diabetes for either yourself, or a loved one.

Firstly, there are multiple different types of Diabetes Mellitus. Here are three of the most common:

  • Type 1: due to the body’s failure to produce insulin
  • Type 2: the body still produces insulin, but it has little or no effect.
  • Gestational: pregnant women who previously didn’t have diabetes, but who have abnormally high glucose levels during pregnancy

Sugar and Diabetes

Diabetes is characterised by Hyperglycaemia - meaning high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood.



Type 1 Diabetes quick facts:

  • Also known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), Juvenile diabetes, or Early-onset diabetes.
  • Often develops during teenage years, and usually before the age of 40.
  • Risk factors:
    • Family history
  • Possibly triggers:
    • Viruses
    • Dietary factors
    • Environmental factors
    • Emotional/ physical stress
  • Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly: symptoms can appear from days to weeks.
  • Presentation:
    • Frequent urination
    • Extreme thirst
    • Lethargy
    • Weight loss
    • Dehydration
  • Treatment: always insulin, either injections or pump
  • Prevention: there are currently no interventions that can reduce risk.
  • Type 1 diabetes may be hard to control during pregnancy


Type 2 Diabetes quick facts:

  • Also known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM)
  • Around 85% of diabetics suffer from type 2
  • In 1996, there were 1.4 million diabetics in the UK; in 2016 there are around 3.9 million.
  • Adults have around a 10% chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Risk factors:
    • Obesity
    • Low fibre/ high calorie diet
    • Lack of exercise
    • Family history
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
    • Certain ethnicities have a higher risk than the white population:
      • South Asian
      • African
      • African-Caribbean
  • Presentation:
    • Lethargy
    • Frequent urination
    • Extreme thirst
  • Tests to diagnose:
    • Blood Glucose Test
      • Levels of ≥ 11.1mmol/L when random
      • Levels of ≥ 7mmol/L when fasting
    • Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c)
      • Diabetes diagnosis would be considered for patients with HbA1c levels over 48mmol/mol (6.5%)Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
    • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
      • Patients’ blood glucose levels are tested after two hours of consuming 75g of glucose
  • Treatment
    • 1st: Lifestyle improvements:
      • Healthy diet
      • Weight loss
      • Smoking cessation
      • Regular exercise
    • 2nd: Medications to reduce blood glucose levels
    • 3rd: Insulin
  • Poor management can lead to the following:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Neuropathy - the damage of nerves
    • Kidney problems
    • Eye problems


Obesity is one of the leading causes of Type 2 diabetes!


Gestational Diabetes quick facts:

  • Between 4-10% of pregnant women may develop gestational diabetes
  • This most often develops during the second trimester of pregnancy (14-26 weeks)
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a 30% chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.


Although many people can live a long and healthy life with diabetes, poor management of Diabetes can be very harmful, and sometimes even fatal.

An essential part of any diabetics' daily routine is the monitoring of their blood glucose level. This is usually done using blood from a finger-prick, and a small machine called a blood glucose meter, such as the one shown below:



So, if you're at all concerned about your risk of developing diabetes, pop in to see a GP for a thorough diabetes screen!