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diabetes research


Diabetes affects an estimated 537 million people around the globe.  

Out of those 537 million people, 45% of people living with diabetes are undiagnosed.1 So, what is diabetes?

In short, diabetes is a chronic disease occurring when the pancreas fails to make insulin or the body cannot use the insulin created. As a result, glucose levels in the bloodstream become too high and the body becomes susceptible to developing serious health problems.1

About diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a long-term disorder characterised by a high level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Glucose comes from food, particularly starchy and sugary foods (called carbohydrates). After a meal the carbohydrate that you have eaten is released from your gut into the bloodstream. The increase in blood glucose with meals affects your overall diabetes results, so it is important to keep it under control.

Learn more about specific types of diabetes

Read more about treatment and living with diabetes

Living with diabetes

Living with diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be overwhelming at first, but coming to terms with your diagnosis, and managing your condition, is an achievable goal. Motivation, education, technology and support are all critical factors to living with diabetes.

Treatment of diabetes
1 min. read

Treatment of diabetes

There are multiple ways to treat diabetes. Lifestyle, insulin and alternatives to insulin all play key roles in living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Related articles about diabetes

Diabetes Health Complications

Diabetes health complications

Diabetes is considered a critical illness because, over time, high glucose levels in the blood can cause severe damage to your heart, eyes, kidneys and other organs. With the correct management, care and treatment, many people living with diabetes manage to live a happy and healthy life. 6

Recognising diabetes symptoms  

If not managed early, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to the below symptoms:

Type 1 symptoms


  • Rapid weight loss 
  • Excessive urination  
  • Extreme thirst 
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweet or fruity breath


Type 2 symptoms 


  • Excessive urination  
  • Extreme thirst  
  • Tiredness and fatigue  
  • Blurry vision
  • Weight loss


While some of the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar, they’re often experienced in different ways. Note that while type 1 symptoms are quick to develop over the course of weeks, type 2 symptoms can take years to materialise. It’s also not uncommon for some people to experience zero symptoms and only be diagnosed with diabetes when a complication arises later in life. 6

Are you aware of cardiovascular risk?

People with type 2 diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to someone living without diabetes. 3,4

Learn how you can reduce the risk.

Diabetes basics 

The two main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Other types of diabetes include gestational diabetes, type 3c diabetes and latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) 5. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% of all diabetes cases globally, followed by type 1.However, only 6-10% of people with diabetes have LADA, and only 9% of all people with diabetes have type 3c.  13

Regardless, all types of diabetes have one thing in common: an overdose of glucose in the blood. If you don’t have diabetes, your body (pancreas) senses that glucose has entered the bloodstream, releases the right amount of insulin, and allows the glucose into the cells. If you have diabetes, this system of regulating and releasing glucose through the presence of insulin doesn’t work.   1

Diabetes risk and prevention

While there’s no current way to prevent type 1 diabetes (scientists are still unsure of the cause), type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through achievable lifestyle changes. The most common preventative measures are:  

Weight loss

You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing weight and keeping it off. Weight gathered around your middle results in a build-up of fat around vital organs such as your pancreas, which can severely impact insulin production (insulin resistance is widespread among people with obesity).  

Keeping active

A physically active lifestyle will help you achieve the first goal of losing weight. Simply moving your body throughout the day will help improve your mood, reduce stress levels, reduce blood pressure and reduce your waist size. Moderate activity, where your breathing is increased, is suitable but vigorous activities (high-intensity workouts, cycling and running) are even better for kicking diabetes to the curb. 

Healthy eating habits

A healthy, balanced diet can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by aiding weight loss, protecting your heart by improving your omega-3 intake and reducing sugar intake. 

Other factors contributing to your overall risk of developing diabetes include ethnicity, genetics, family history and existing health conditions. 


January 2024. IE23DI00241

  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: May 2022. 
  2. Valaiyapathi B, Gower B, Ashraf AP. Pathophysiology of Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents. Curr Diabetes Rev 2020; 16:220–229.  
  3. Almdal T, Scharling H, Jensen JS, et al. The independent effect of type 2 diabetes mellitus on ischemic heart disease, stroke, and death: a population-based study of 13,000 men and women with 20 years of follow-up. Arch Intern Med 2004; 164:1422–1426.  
  4. Fox CS, Coady S, Sorlie PD, et al. Trends in cardiovascular complications of diabetes. JAMA 2004; 292:2495–2499. 
  5. Ewald N, Hardt PD. Diagnosis and treatment of diabetes mellitus in chronic pancreatitis. World J Gastroenterol 2013; 19:7276–7281.  
  6. WHO. Diabetes. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes. Last accessed: May 2022.
  7. Diabetes.co.uk. Visceral Fat (Active Fat). Available from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/body/visceral-fat.html. Last accessed: May 2022. 
  8. 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: May 2022.
  9. Mosenzon O, 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.
  10. Heart UK. Omega-3 fats. Available from: heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/omega-3-fats. Last accessed: May 2022
  11. Diabetes UK. Diabetes and exercise. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/exercise. Last accessed: May 2022.
  12. Pancreatic Cancer Action. Type 3C diabetes (secondary diabetes). Available from: https://pancreaticcanceraction.org/help-and-support/living-with-pancreatic-cancer/type-3c-diabetes/. Last accessed: May 2022.
  13. Diabetes.co.uk. Diabetes LADA. Available from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes_lada.html. Last accessed: May 2022.