It is estimated that 3.2 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, and around 630,000 people are thought to be living with the condition without knowing it. These figures are projected to grow rapidly. Diabetes is more commonly found in men than women.

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to break down glucose into energy because:

(a) the body is not producing insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling the sugar in the blood (Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes)

(b) the body produces too little insulin, or the insulin fails to work properly (Type 2 diabetes)

10 per cent of people with diabetes in the UK have Type 1. This usually develops before the age of 40 and will often develop during the teenage years. As the cause of Type 1 diabetes is currently uncertain, it is not preventable. Sufferers will normally be required to inject insulin on a daily basis and must be careful to monitor their glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common. 90 per cent of people with diabetes in the UK have Type 2 diabetes. You can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by managing your weight, eating well and being active, and more details on best ways to do that are available from the links below. If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, depending on severity of the condition, regular exercise and a healthy diet can sometimes be all that is needed to maintain good health. However, as it is a progressive condition, sufferers may eventually require medication to control blood glucose levels. If you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you should receive support from medical professionals and dieticians who can give dietary advice.

Common signs that you may have diabetes are feeling very thirsty, needing to go to the toilet more frequently than usual (especially at night), extreme tiredness and weight loss. Other symptoms for men include blurred vision, itching around the genitals, and slow healing of cuts and wounds. The problem with Type 2 diabetes is that the symptoms can begin as less pronounced than Type 1, so they can easily be missed.

For more information on diabetes, check out these sites:

Diabetes UK

NHS Choices

JDRF (focuses on Type 1 diabetes)

Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation


The Blue Ribbon Foundation acts as a signposting service to specialist websites containing more detailed information on specific illnesses and conditions. We endeavour to ensure all information presented here is up-to-date and gathered from multiple respected sources. However, the data presented on this website is for general information purposes only. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability of this information in respect to specific concerns or questions you may have about your own health. If you are concerned about your own health, it is imperative you seek professional medical advice at the earliest opportunity.