Found this on and just pulled off a brief overview another good USA site is


There are many misconceptions about diabetes being a ‘mild’ condition. But these misconceptions are potentially dangerous. Diabetes is serious — read on and make sure you know if you are at risk.

About diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when the body can’t use glucose (sugar) properly. As a result, people with diabetes have abnormally high levels of glucose in their blood

Diabetes – the complications
What makes diabetes so serious is that the condition can affect other parts of the body. Many adults have had diabetes for several years before their symptoms are recognized. By the time they are diagnosed, a great many have already started to develop the complications of diabetes — blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and nerve damage that could lead to amputations.
If you think you might have diabetes, it is vital you take steps now.
Spotting diabetes early means that it can be treated and the risk of developing the serious complications can be greatly reduced.

A simple blood test will see if you have diabetes
– ask your GP for one.

Diabetes – the risk factors

Diabetes and age
Most people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. The older you are, the greater your risk of diabetes.
Diabetes runs in families
The closer the relative with diabetes, the greater your risk of diabetes. African-Caribbean or South Asian people are three to five times more likely to have diabetes than white members of the population.
Weight is a factor in diabetes
Over 80 per cent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. The more overweight and unfit you are, the greater your risk of diabetes.
Diabetes and pregnancy
Pregnant women can develop a temporary type of diabetes called ‘Gestational diabetes‘. Having this, or giving birth to a large baby, can increase a woman’s risk of going on to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes – the symptoms

increased thirst
going to the toilet all the time – especially at night
extreme tiredness
weight loss
genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
blurred vision.

In Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms may not always be easily recognised.

What diabetes care to expect if you are diagnosed

Being diagnosed can be scary, but you can live a normal, unrestricted life – just look at Olympic rower, Sir Steve Redgrave.

If you are diagnosed, Diabetes UK recommends that you should have access to a diabetes care team made up of a range of healthcare professionals. One of the first things they should arrange is a full medical examination.

They should then work with you to devise a programme of care that suits you. You should get to meet a diabetes specialist nurse or a GP practice nurse who will tell you about diabetes and explain the treatment. You should also meet a state registered dietitian.

You may have concerns about how diabetes could affect other aspects of your life such as your job, and you should be given the chance to talk about this. You should also be given regular information on diabetes and about Diabetes UK and our services.

Remember, you can lead a full and healthy life with diabetes.
If you feel some of the risk factors apply to you, or if you want to know more about diabetes, contact Diabetes UK's Careline – telephone 020 7636 6112, text 020 7462 2757 or email

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes it is vital you get good information about how to control your diabetes and reduce the risk of developing complications. Visit other sections of this site to learn more about diabetes and managing your diabetes.

This section tells you about:
• diabetes, its symptoms and associated health problems
• what causes diabetes and who is most at risk
• how diabetes can be treated, and
• how you can help yourself to stay fit and healthy.
The good news about diabetes is that treatments are very effective and the more you know about your condition, the more you can do to help yourself stay healthy; lead the sort of life you want to live, and to avoid the health problems associated with diabetes in later life.

Diabetes — or to give it its full name, diabetes mellitus — is a common condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body is unable to use it properly. This is because the body's method of converting glucose into energy is not working as it should.

Normally, a hormone called insulin carefully controls the amount of glucose in our blood. Insulin is made by a gland called the pancreas, which lies just behind the stomach. It helps the glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body.
We obtain glucose from the food that we eat, either from sweet foods or from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread or potatoes. The liver can also make glucose.

After a meal, the blood glucose level rises and insulin is released into the blood. When the blood glucose level falls — for example, during physical activity — the level of insulin falls. Insulin, therefore, plays a vital role in regulating the level of blood glucose and, in particular, in stopping the blood glucose from rising too high.

There are two main types of diabetes. These are:
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin dependent diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, also known as non insulin dependent diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when there is a severe lack of insulin in the body because most or all of the cells in the pancreas that produce it have been destroyed. This type of diabetes usually appears in people under the age of 40, often in childhood. It is treated by insulin injections and diet.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still produce some insulin, though not enough for its needs, or when the insulin that the body produces does not work properly. This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40. It is treated by diet alone, or by a combination of diet and tablets, or by a combination of diet and insulin injections.

The main symptoms of diabetes are:
increased thirst,going to the toilet all the time – especially at night ,extreme tiredness,weight loss ,genital itching or regular episodes of thrush ,blurred vision.

Type 2 diabetes develops slowly and the symptoms are usually less severe. Some people may not notice any symptoms at all and their diabetes is only picked up in a routine medical check up. Some people may put the symptoms down to 'getting older' or 'overwork'.

Type 1 diabetes develops much more quickly, usually over a few weeks, and symptoms are normally very obvious.
In both types of diabetes, the symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes is treated. Early treatment will also reduce the chances of developing serious health problems.

Diabetes is a common health condition. About 1.4 million people in the UK are known to have diabetes — that’s about three in every 100 people. And there are an estimated one million people in the UK who have diabetes but don't know it. Over three-quarters of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

Although the condition can occur at any age, it is rare in infants and becomes more common as people get older.

Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Nobody knows for sure why these cells have been damaged but the most likely cause is an abnormal reaction of the body to the cells. This may be triggered by a viral or other infection. This type of diabetes generally affects younger people. Both sexes are affected equally.

Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes used to be called 'maturity onset' diabetes because it usually appears in middle-aged or elderly people, although it does occasionally appear in younger people. The main causes are that the body no longer responds normally to its own insulin, and/or that the body does not produce enough insulin.
People who are overweight are particularly likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. It tends to run in families and is more common in Asian and African-Caribbean communities. Some people wrongly describe Type 2 diabetes as 'mild' diabetes. There is no such thing as mild diabetes. All diabetes should be taken seriously and treated properly.

Other causes of diabetes

There are some other causes of diabetes, including certain diseases of the pancreas, but they are all very rare. Sometimes an accident or an illness may reveal diabetes if it is already there, but they do not cause it.

The healthy diet for people with diabetes is the healthy diet recommended for everyone. Although food choice and eating habits are important in helping you manage your diabetes, you should be able to continue enjoying a wide variety of different foods as part of a balanced diet.

Try being more active too, as this will not only help control your weight and your diabetes, but will also reduce risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

If you are overweight, losing weight will help you control your diabetes. You should aim to lose weight slowly over time rather than by drastic dieting. Even if you don't manage to get to your ideal weight, losing a small amount and keeping it off will help you.

Following the steps and recommendations in this section of the site will help you control your blood glucose levels and blood fats as well as regulate your weight.

Eat regular meals based on starchy foods such as bread, pasta, chapatis, potatoes, rice and cereals. This will help you to control your blood glucose levels. Whenever possible, choose high fibre varieties of these foods, like wholemeal bread and wholemeal cereals, as fibre maintains the health of your digestive system and prevents problems such as constipation.
Try and cut down on the fat you eat, particularly saturated (animal) fats, as this type of fat is linked to heart disease. Choose monounsaturated fats, eg olive oil and rapeseed oil. Eating less fat and fatty foods will also help you to lose weight. Use less butter, margarine, cheese and fatty meats. Choose low fat dairy foods like skimmed milk and low fat yogurt. Grill, steam or oven bake instead of frying or cooking with oil or other fats.
Eat more fruit and vegetables — aim for at least five portions a day to provide you with vitamins and fibre as well as to help you balance your overall diet. A portion is, for example, a piece of fruit or a serving of a vegetable.
Cut down on sugar and sugary foods. This does not mean you need to eat a sugar-free diet. Sugar can be used as an ingredient in foods and in baking as part of a healthy diet. However, use sugar-free, low sugar or diet squashes and fizzy drinks, as sugary drinks cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly.
Use less salt, because a high intake of salt can raise your blood pressure. Try flavouring food with herbs and spices instead of salt.
Drink alcohol in moderation only — that’s two units of alcohol per day for a woman and three units per day for a man. For example, a small glass of wine or half a pint of normal-strength beer is one unit. Never drink on an empty stomach, as alcohol can make hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) more likely to occur