About Diabetes

Diabetes can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications. Exercise and a healthy diet are critical, but may not be enough. The good news? Effective management and monitoring tools, like our insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring systems, can help you lead a full and active life.

About Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in children and teenagers, and for this reason was once called “juvenile onset diabetes.” However, people of all ages can be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Finding out that you have diabetes can be scary, but remember, knowledge is power. With proper care and treatment, people with diabetes can live long and healthy lives.


The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly, and may be severe. They can include increased thirst and frequent urination, weight loss, extreme hunger, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Women may stop menstruating. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to get checked as soon as possible by a doctor.


In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps cells use blood sugar (glucose) for energy. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, and scientists do not fully understand why some people get it and others don’t. Unlike type 2 diabetes, there is no relationship between type 1 diabetes and body weight, cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

Risk Factors

A family history of type 1 diabetes will increase your risk. Type 1 diabetes is more common among whites than among African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, or Native Americans. Certain viral infections during childhood may also increase your risk.


Many people are first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after being hospitalised for symptoms caused by extreme high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia). Doctors will use a series of tests to check for ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that can lead to coma and death. Blood tests will help them determine your blood sugar (glucose) and get an indication of how much insulin is being produced.

About Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 2 million people in the United Kingdom, making it the most common form of diabetes. While it was once called “adult onset diabetes,” we now know that children and teenagers can develop it too. Finding out that you have diabetes can be scary, but remember, knowledge is power. With proper care and treatment, people with diabetes can live long and healthy lives.


Many of the symptoms of diabetes may seem harmless at first. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years without knowing it. Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) include increased thirst and frequent urination, extreme hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision. Other problems may occur from having high blood sugar over an extended period of time, including frequent infections that are slow to heal or tingling and numbness in your hands or feet. Men may have erectile dysfunction. By detecting diabetes early, you increase your chances of staying healthy and having fewer symptoms.


People with type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, or the cells in their body may not respond properly to the insulin they produce (insulin resistance). Why these things happen is not fully known. Researchers have shown that type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are overweight, have high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. But many people with these conditions do not get diabetes, and many people who develop type 2 diabetes have normal body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. These include family history, race, weight, inactivity, age, prediabetes (a condition in which your blood sugar is higher than normal), and gestational diabetes (diabetes that developed when you were pregnant). Type 2 diabetes is more common among African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.


Doctors use blood tests to screen for diabetes. Usually, your doctor will ask you to avoid eating before he or she takes a blood sample. The sample will be sent to a laboratory, where your glucose (sugar) levels will be measured. Some doctors can perform this test in their office with a glucose meter. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you start testing for type 2 diabetes when you turn 45 – especially if you are overweight.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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