Diabetes Awareness Week

10 Jun 2024

This week marks Diabetes Awareness Week, highlighting the importance of what diabetes is, the signs and symptoms to look out for and how people can reduce their risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes.

About diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

There are 2 main types of diabetes:

  • type 1 diabetes – a lifelong condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • type 2 diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin properly

About pre-diabetes

Many people have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes. This is known as pre-diabetes.

People with pre-diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but the risk can be reduced through lifestyle changes.

Preventing diabetes

The three main ways to prevent type 2 diabetes are through:  

  • A healthy diet: This includes increasing your fibre intake, incorporating more fruit and vegetables into your diet and reducing sugar intake
  • Exercise: The government recommends that adults should be active at moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes per week. This may include walking more, swimming, cycling or even doing some gardening
  • Losing weight: If you are living with obesity or are overweight

Diabetes signs and symptoms

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent hunger
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing of cuts and wounds
  • Itching and yeast infections

Risk factors

You may be more at risk of type 2 diabetes if you:

  • are living with overweight or obesity
  • do not have a healthy diet
  • have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • are of Asian, Black African or African Caribbean origin
  • take certain medicines such as steroids for a long time
  • have high blood pressure
  • have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy

If you are concerned and are experiencing these symptoms, ask your doctor for an HbA1c blood test.

You can also learn more about the diabetes programmes, helping people to prevent or live healthy lives with Diabetes across south east London here: Programmes Archive – Diabetes Book & Learn (diabetesbooking.co.uk)