skip to main content

Easy Read Information

Diabetes is a disease where your body can't control the amount of sugar in your blood stream.

This page has information about the different types of diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus (commonly known as diabetes) is a common health condition. About 2.8million people in the UK are known to have diabetes while it is also estimated that a significant number of people are not aware that they have diabetes. For every person who knows that they have the condition, there is probably another person with diabetes who does not yet know. Over three-quarters of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Although the condition can occur at any age, it is rare in infants and becomes more common as people get older.

Information about diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Nobody knows for sure why these cells have been damaged but the most likely cause is the body having an abnormal reaction to the cells. This may be triggered by a viral or other infection. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM).

People who develop diabetes under the age of 40 and especially in childhood, usually have this type of diabetes, however it can happen at any age.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes usually appears in middle-aged or older people, although more frequently it is being diagnosed in younger overweight people and is known to affect African-Caribbean and South Asian people at a younger age.

The main cause is that the insulin that the body produces doesn’t work properly (insulin resistance). Some people wrongly describe Type 2 diabetes as 'mild' diabetes. There is no such thing as mild diabetes. All diabetes should be taken seriously and treated properly. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM).

Other causes of diabetes

There are some other causes of diabetes, including certain diseases of the pancreas, but they are all very rare.

Once diagnosed diabetes may have significant impact on lifestyle but on the other hand there are many things one can do to control the blood sugar levels, enhance quality of life and reduce short and long term health problems.

Your doctor and nurse would be happy to provide you further information on diabetes. Also Diabetes UK website can give you up-to-date information and support, on all aspects of living with diabetes.