Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. When food is digested and enters the bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy so we can work, play and generally live our lives.
If you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there is either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.
- Type 1 diabetes often develops in people under 40 and is not preventable.
- Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 85 and 95 % of all people with diabetes and in many cases may be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and an active lifestyle.
People with type 2 diabetes may complain of needing to pass urine all the time, excessive thirst, tiredness and repeated infections. However many people do not experience any symptoms so recognising those at risk is vital.
Overweight people, those of Asian descent and those with a family history of the condition are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You can check your diabetes risk using the risk score calculator.
Diabetes can result in blindness, amputation, kidney failure and heart disease, and other conditions. Early diagnosis and good control of diabetes is essential to reduce the chances of developing complications and to improve people’s chances of living a long and healthy life.
For more information on diabetes, including self assessment tests, an online clinic and details of services in your area, visit the NHS Choices website or watch a short video with practical advice on how to cope with diabetes.
Preventing diabetes in Wiltshire
In Wiltshire there are approximately 20,000 diabetics registered with GPs and an estimated 7,000 people who have the condition, but don’t know it.
For many people diabetes is a preventable condition. We are working with the NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group to raise awareness of the condition and how it can be avoided.
Keeping your waistline under 37 inches for men, or 32 inches for women, eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity will all help you to avoid type 2 diabetes. You can check your risk of diabetes on the Diabetes UK website.
You can find information about lifestyle advice and opportunities in your area of the county on the Wiltshire Intelligence Network.
The council also provides a wide range of opportunities for people to improve their health through the Active Health programme and other sports and activities.
Last updated: 24 April 2014