What is diabetes?

Understanding diabetes and how it affects your body

Diabetes is a condition in which a person can have a high level of blood glucose (sugar) which if not brought under control can negatively impact quality of life.

Think of high blood glucose levels like really sticky sugary blood. This stickiness means that your blood can get stuck when it gets to small vessels (like those in your feet and eyes). When blood gets stuck it clots and the part of the body that was supposed to get this blood can be damaged.

When this sticky blood gets trapped in larger vessels you are at risk of heart attacks (where parts of your heart do not get enough blood), strokes (where parts of your brain do not get enough blood) and heart failure (where your heart does not pump blood out very well). Risk is higher when combined with high Cholesterol (think of lumps of butter or lard blocking your blood vessels along with sticky blood) and high blood pressure.

A large number of people in the United Kingdom have diabetes (recent estimates are over 2.3 million) this number is growing rapidly and nearly half a million people have diabetes and do not even know it. If diabetes isn’t treated, it can cause long-term health problems because the high glucose levels in the blood can damage other parts of your body. If you’ve been recently diagnosed, find out about what treatment options are available.

The good news is that it can be managed easily by making simples changes to healthy eating and lifestyle. Diabetes can be managed effectively and many people with diabetes lead healthy and active lives.


Diabetes (or more properly diabetes mellitus) is a condition in which a person has a high blood sugar (glucose) level. There are 2 types:

TYPE 1- This is where a person’s body produces cells that damage the pancreas (the organ that produces insulin to reduce sugar in the blood) and so cannot manage their own blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes most commonly occurs at a younger age.

TYPE 2- This is where a person’s body becomes resistant to insulin. This is usually linked to increased weight (or waist circumference) and low levels of exercise.