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What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your body cannot make enough insulin and cannot effectively use the insulin it makes. This is called insulin resistance, and it develops over months or even years.1,2

Managing type 2 diabetes through lifestyle

Managing diabetes as a family

Managing diabetes as a family

Type 2 diabetes doesn't impact everyone in the same way. And the person with diabetes is rarely the only one affected.

How to make a simple plan for managing type 2 diabetes
3 min. read

How to make a simple plan for managing type 2 diabetes

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can feel like a setback. But identifying the problem brings you closer to the solution. Here are some tips to get started.

Digital technology and diabetes

Digital technology and diabetes

Digital technology is advancing in every aspect of life and managing diabetes is no exception. So, how can technology help with managing your diabetes?

What causes type 2 diabetes?

The causes of type 2 diabetes are not fully understood. The chronic disease is commonly linked with being overweight as well as with family history and ethnicity.  3,6

Is type 2 diabetes genetic? Type 2 diabetes can be inherited and linked to your family history and genetics. However, environmental factors play a significant role too. A healthy diet and regular exercise will reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes – even if the disease runs in your family. 6

Recognising symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops gradually, so you may not even notice the symptoms until they become obvious. This is dangerous, as high blood sugar levels may already be damaging your body. 3

Type 2 diabetes symptoms
  • Excessive urination as your body expels excess glucose
  • Extreme thirst resulting from urination
  • Tiredness and fatigue as energy from glucose cannot reach your body's cells
  • Thrush/genital itching or yeast infections as glucose in urine provide a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria
  • Blurry vision caused by high sugar levels in the fluid of your eye (and in rare cases, damage to the eye's blood vessels)
  • Weight loss as your body uses fat for energy when cells cannot absorb glucose

Type 2 diabetes risk assessment & prevention

Are you at risk of developing diabetes, or do you have it already? Around 50% of people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have the disease and risk developing serious health complications.1

Type 2 diabetes risk factors
  • Overweight
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Previous gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity

Knowing your risk and getting screened early are simple steps towards a longer, healthier life. 

The correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular disease only heightens the need to be aware of risk factors and catch symptoms of diabetes early. 

Living with type 2 diabetes   

Lifestyle changes may be sufficient to manage type 2 diabetes. If these are not enough to control your blood sugar levels, or as the disease progresses over time, you may also need to take medication.


Eating healthy when you have diabetes can be difficult but eating well means learning to make healthy choices for you – regardless of where you are or who you are with. Aim to:

  • Eat a variety of foods in the right amounts
  • Eat regularly
  • Balance the amount you eat
  • Keep track of your carbohydrate intake 
  • Cut down on alcohol 




Regular exercise can help you control your blood sugar levels, lose weight, and may help to improve your physical and mental health. A slight increase in physical activity can make a huge difference. Check out these suggested low-impact activities to get started:

  • Pilates (flexibility and strength training)
  • Tai chi (upper body strength and mindfulness) 
  • Dancing (raises heart rate and burns fat)
  • Weights (build strength and aid weight loss)
  • Hiking (gentle and mindfulness)
  • Swimming (easy on the joints and good for blood circulation)

In summary, to help live an active and independent life with type 2 diabetes, you may need to change the way you care for your health through diet and lifestyle changes. 

Read more about "Living with diabetes"

Living with diabetes

Living with diabetes

How do you manage your lifestyle when it comes to diabetes? Whether it be nutrition or exercise, we have gathered tips and articles to help you manage your diabetes.

Treatment of diabetes
1 min. read

Treatment of diabetes

Lifestyle and various diabetes medications all play key roles in living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

  1. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Atlas 10th Edition, 2021. Available from: https://diabetesatlas.org/idfawp/resource-files/2021/07/IDF_Atlas_10th_Edition_2021.pdf. Last accessed: January 2024.
  2. Endocrineweb. What to know about Insulin resistance. Available at: https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-2-diabetes/insulin-resistance-causes-symptoms. Last accessed: January 2024.
  3. NHS UK. What is Type 2 Diabetes? Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/. Last accessed: January 2024.
  4. Mosenzon O, Alguwaihes A, Leon JLA, et al. CAPTURE: a multinational, cross-sectional study of cardiovascular disease prevalence in adults with type 2 diabetes across 13 countries. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2021;20:154.
  5. WHO. Diabetes. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes. Last accessed: January 2024.
  6. NIDDK. Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/risk-factors-type-2-diabetes. Last accessed: January 2024.
  7. NHS UK. Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar). Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-sugar-hyperglycaemia/. Last accessed: January 2024.
  8. Healthline. 13 ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/prevent-diabetes. Last accessed: January 2024.
  9. Diabetes.co.uk. Blood Vessels. Available at: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/body/blood-vessels.html. Last accessed: January 2024.
  10. NIDDK. Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity. Last accessed: January 2024.