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What is Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes

It is estimated that there are currently 3.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of these cases1. It is also predicted that 1.1 million people have diabetes and don’t even know it.2

Diabetes is a condition that affects how the body uses glucose, a sugar we use as a source of energy. Once glucose is released from the food we eat and enters the bloodstream, your body releases a hormone called insulin. Type 2 diabetes is caused when the body responds abnormally to the insulin produced, creating a resistance. This means that unused glucose can build up in your bloodstream causing high blood sugar levels.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

With less obvious symptoms than Type 1 diabetes, people who have Type 2 diabetes may be unaware. Type 2 diabetes symptoms can develop relatively slowly and therefore can often go unnoticed for an extended period of time. However, the most common symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Passing water more often, especially at night
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Genital itching and regular instances of thrush

Recognising diabetes in the early stages of development can delay or prevent other more serious, long-term complications. If you are suffering with any of the symptoms above, ease your mind with a simple blood test which can diagnose diabetes at your local LloydsPharmacy.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a lot more common than Type 1 as it is not caused by an autoimmune disease where the body fights against its own healthy cells. There are a number of risk factors that can lead to the development of the condition:

  • As we age, our risk increases, especially for over 40s. This can be attributed to the fact that, as we get older, the pancreas begins to produce insulin less effectively. Also, bodily resistance to insulin can increase
  • Genetics is also big factor. For example, if you have a close relative with the condition, such as a parent or sibling, your risk increases
  • Poor lifestyle choices hugely impact health and increase the likelihood of having Type 2 diabetes, including lack of exercise and being overweight or obese

Work out your BMI

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Type 2 diabetes can be effectively managed with regular blood glucose testing. This can be done using simple tests that require a small fingerprick sample of blood. You can monitor your levels quickly and conveniently at home with our range of testing kits online:

Type 2 diabetes treatment typically involves medication that helps to maintain a normal blood sugar level. This medication is normally lifelong and will also help prevent any further long-term complications of diabetes, including high blood pressure and reduced blood circulation to the feet. The type of medication and dosage varies widely and is often dependent on individual needs; you will be recommended the most suitable medicines for you by your GP.

Diabetes progresses over time, so expect to see changes to your medication as you age. Within the early stages of Type 2 diabetes, insulin is not often used. Insulin will be given to people who have found other medications have not worked to lower their blood glucose levels.

Diabetes treatment requires a combination of medication and actively keeping healthy.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping active

Know your carbs
Know your carbs

The key is to maintain a healthy weight and keep a balanced diet; here are some of our quick tips:

  • Always have regular meals
  • Have a portion of some type of starchy food with each meal, such as potatoes, bread or pasta
  • Incorporate fibre into your diet – fruit, vegetables and wholegrain starch alternatives
  • Cut down on salt and sugar
  • Avoid frying foods such as meat – grill more often and have oily fish twice a week
  • Drink alcohol in moderation and, if you smoke, seek help to quit as soon as possible

You must also exercise regularly, which we understand is difficult to fit into your daily routine. However, start off small by getting in at least 10 minutes of activity a day and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes and onward! You could try motivating yourself with a fitness tracker or turning your daily commute into exercise by walking or cycling.

Type 2 Diabetes Tests

You can now identify your potential risk of developing Type 2 diabetes with our simple online assessments; we have tests for both men and women. Before you begin, you will need your waist measurement in centimeters (cm) and Body Mass Index (BMI).

If you would rather talk to a health care professional face-to-face or even discuss your online assessment results, you can now book an appointment online for our instore Type 2 diabetes screening service.

1 Diabetes.co.uk: Diabetes Prevalence [accessed May 2017]
2 Diabetes UK, 2017. Estimated figure *refers to Type 2 diabetes only