There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 is where your immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2, the most common, is where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. Around 90% of UK adults living with diabetes has type 2. During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce the amount of insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes.

While anybody can have diabetes, there are certain people more at risk. It can develop over time, usually over the age of 40 if you are white ethnicity, or over the age of 25 if you are African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian. You're two-to-six times more likely to develop diabetes if your parent, brother, sister or children have it. You're also more at risk if you have had high blood pressure or are overweight, particularly if your weight is largely around the middle.

How does diabetes affect wellbeing?

You should visit your GP as soon as possible if you notice the main symptoms of diabetes, such as feeling very thirsty, urinating more frequently than usual (especially at night) and feeling very tired. Use NHS Choices for full information on diabetes and symptoms.

How can I improve my wellbeing?

There's nothing we can do to prevent Type 1 diabetes. But around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active. Living with Type 2 diabetes can be made easier with a healthy diet, being active and reducing weight to a healthy range for you, as well as support from a health professional.

Use the services below to find support:

How to help others

How can I help a child or teenager?

There is information and advice for parents on the diabetes.org.uk website.

How can I help a friend or relative?

People living with diabetes need to manage and monitor their own sugar levels. As a friend or relative, be mindful that they are eating healthy. If their behaviour seems out of the ordinary or unusual, encourage them to test their levels immediately.

I'm a care worker. How can I help my client?

It's important for people living with diabetes to have a healthy diet and be active. Try using this website to find a nearby sport or leisure group to help your client do more. There is also information for professionals on the diabetes.org.uk website.

How can I help people in the workplace?

There is information on living with diabetes in the workplace on the diabetes.org.uk website. Or download the 10 things to know about diabetes in the workplace pdf.