Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.
There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1.
If you’re diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you’ll need insulin injections for the rest of your life. If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be able to control your symptoms by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and monitoring your blood glucose levels.
Who is at risk of diabetes?
Four of the main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes are:
- age – being over the age of 40 (over 25 for south Asian people)
- genetics – having a close relative with the condition (parent, brother or sister)
- weight – being overweight or obese. You can use a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator to find out if you’re a healthy weight for your height.
- ethnicity – being of south Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK)
How is diabetes tested?
If you think you may have diabetes, your urine will be tested for glucose. If it does contain glucose, a specialised blood test, known as glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) can be used to determine whether you have diabetes.