Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. This is due to a problem with insulin – a hormone that helps your body use sugar for energy. Diabetes happens when:

  • Your body doesn’t produce enough insulin
  • The insulin your body produces isn’t effective
  • Your body cannot produce any insulin at all

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is a lifelong condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. There is nothing you can do to prevent yourself or others developing type 1 diabetes. People with this type of diabetes will need to take insulin every day to keep their blood sugar levels under control.

Type 1 Diabetes is the less common type. Less than 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin properly. This type of diabetes is often linked to being overweight or being from a Black African, African Caribbean and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) background.

This is the most common type of diabetes. You can check your risk of getting type 2 diabetes with Diabetes UK’s ‘Know your risk’ questionnaire.

High risk diabetes checks and clinics

If you have had a blood test with us for an unrelated condition, you may be called in for an appointment to discuss risk of diabetes depending on your results. This appointment will usually be with a Healthcare Assistant or a pharmacist who specialises in diabetes. In this appointment you will:

  • Talk about your lifestyle (diet, alcohol intake, exercise, smoking etc.)
  • Have your height and weight taken
  • Get your blood pressure taken

They will then talk to you about how to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes

You should see a GP if you are:

  • Feeling very thirsty (Both)
  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night (Both)
  • Feeling very tired (Both)
  • Losing weight without trying (Both)
  • Thrush that keeps coming back (Both)
  • Blurred vision (Both)
  • Cuts and grazes that are not healing (Both)
  • Fruity-smelling breath (Type 1 only)

What your GP can do

Diagnosing diabetes

If you suspect you have diabetes, your GP:

  • Will ask you questions about your lifestyle (diet, exercise, alcohol intake, smoking etc.)
  • Do a urine test
  • Check your blood sugar level.

Following the results, they may then send you to hospital for further assessment

    After a diabetes diagnosis

    If you get a diabetes diagnosis, your GP will make an appointment to talk about:

    • What your diagnosis means for your health
    • Whether you need to make medicine
    • Your diet and exercise
    • Making lifestyle changes if necessary (reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking)

    You will also be invited to regular check ups to monitor your condition. These will include:

    • Foot checks. These are extremely important for patients with diabetes as they are more likely to have serious foot problems which could lead to amputations.
    • Blood tests
    • Blood pressure checks
    • Urine tests

    Sick day notes

    Because diabetes is a long-term health condition you may sometimes need a sick day note for work. Please see here for more details.

    Resources and support

    • Diabetes UK Helpline
      -Talk with highly trained advisors regarding any questions about diabetes, or just to have a chat about how you are coping.
      – Email [email protected] or call 0345 123 2399*
    Visit Diabetes UK for more support and information