You are not alone

Diabetes is a lifelong condition which affects so many people — and yet there’s still so much that people don’t understand. It’s so important that people know how to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, that they know about the symptoms and that they know how to manage the condition if they have it. If diagnosed and treated in the right way, early on, diabetes can be managed so that people go on to live long and healthy lives.

Unhealthy lifestyle increases fatal risks

Sadly, if this doesn’t happen, they could develop serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blind- ness and amputation.” Staying on top “Having good control of diabetes is really important — after all, people with the condition live with it every day, taking care of their diet and physical activity levels,” Cleaver points out.

Living on medication

“Many people also have to take medication and/or insulin. If diabetes isn’t control- led properly, mainly through managing blood glucose and blood pressure levels, then it’s more likely to lead to some of the devastating complications. People with diabetes need the right support to look after themselves so I, along with Diabetes UK, want to make sure that all people living with the condition receive all the right services they need.”

Diabetes is not a death wish

With the right knowledge, care and support, people with diabetes shouldn’t have to miss out on anything that they want to do, says Cleaver — as she points out, there is constant ongoing research into diabetes which hopes to make it easier for people with the condition to live healthy lives. In the last few years alone, we’ve seen improvements and advancements in technology, such as the insulin pump, which makes living with diabetes much more comfortable.”

Stay alert

“It’s so important that people don’t dismiss the symptoms of diabetes, or ignore the risk factors,” says Cleaver. “Although Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, approximately 60 per cent of cases of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented — through lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and physical activity.” “During Diabetes Week.

Healthy lifestyle roadshow

Diabetes UK is launching a new series of Healthy Lifestyle roadshows throughout the country, which will assess a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The assessment is based on several factors, including age, waist size and family history of diabetes, all of which can affect the level of risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. I would encourage all adults to visit www.diabetes.org.uk/Risk score and receive their free risk assessment.”

Key facts

In the UK, there are 3.7 million people living with diabetes; 2.9 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 850,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it. As many as 7 million people are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and if current trends continue, an estimated 5 million people will have diabetes by 2025.

Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed in the correct way, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

  • Type 1 diabetes develops if the body cannot produce any insulin. It usually appears before the age of 40, especially in childhood. It is the less common of the two types of diabetes and accounts for around 10 per cent of all people with diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is treated by daily insulin doses — taken either by injections or via an insulin pump — as well as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. It is not known exactly why it develops.

SOURCE: DIABETES UK

  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90 per cent of people with diabetes. It is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.
  • Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes include family history, ethnicity, being overweight or having a large waist, high blood pressure, heart disease or having had a heart attack.
  • Type 2 diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian people it often appears from the age of 2