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What is diabetes?

Diabetes is the name used to describe a metabolic condition of having higher than normal blood glucose (sugar) levels. In people with diabetes there is too much glucose in the blood because the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, or the insulin it produces does not work properly.

There are two main types of diabetes:

• Type 1 diabetes – little or no insulin is produced by the pancreas. Therefore the insulin has to be replaced by insulin injections and a healthy diet.
• Type 2 diabetes – the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced does not work properly (insulin resistance). This type of diabetes is treated through a healthy diet, but tablets, insulin, or both, may become necessary.

Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you can also be insulin resistant. Extra body weight, especially around the middle, makes the body become resistant to the insulin being produced or injected. Being a healthy weight and increasing your physical activity will improve your insulin resistance and enable the insulin to work effectively.

Aims of treatment

  • The aim of treatment for both types of diabetes is to achieve and maintain the best possible control of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. This will help prevent complications associated with diabetes in the future. 
  • Eating a healthy diet, regular physical activity, weight control, not smoking and maintaining a healthy cholesterol level are important factors in the treatment of your diabetes. One Life Suffolk is a healthy lifestyles organisation who can offer you help.

The Specialist Diabetes Team at Ipswich Hospital offer a range of clinics covering renal disease, insulin dose adjustment, pre-conceptual, young people with diabetes, insulin pumps, complex Type 2 and others. In particular, they deliver group education courses for people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Additional information

Learning to manage your Diabetes

Find out more about these courses can help you learn to manage your diabetes.

Dietary Advice

A healthy balanced diet can help you manage your diabetes well. Read more...

Other advice for those with diabetes

Look after your feet - Visit NHS.uk for more advice

Look after your eyes - If you have diabetes you should attend for your free annual diabetic eye screening appointment.

Thinking of having a baby? - Having diabetes might make a difference to your pregnancy. Read this useful leaflet: Important information for women with diabetes

Diabetes - A Guide for the African & Caribbean Community

Useful contacts

Diabetes UK
10 Parkway, London, NW1 7AA
Tel. 020 74241000,
Careline 0845 1202960
Email: info@diabetes.org.uk.
Website: www.diabetes.org.uk

NHS website

Carbs & Cals
– information on portion sizes, weight loss and carbohydrate counting

The British Dietetic Association

My Diabetes, My Life
- Learn to Live Well with Diabetes

Please note that all links open in a new window.

Diabetes Prevention Week is an annual highlight in the Diabetes UK calendar.

The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the condition, and vital funds for our work.
Find out more...

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