Let’s start at the beginning
You have diabetes. Now what?
You are not alone. According to the International Diabetes Federation, it was estimated in 2015 one in 11 adults had diabetes, and one in two was not even diagnosed1. A diabetes diagnosis is an important first step in getting your disease under control. Learning that you have diabetes can come as a shock and be overwhelming. Here at LifeScan.co.uk, we are here to help you.
This site is designed to help you learn more about the disease: you’ll find information on the importance of blood glucose monitoring and taking your medicine when it’s prescribed – be it pills or injectables, including insulin. We’ll explain the basics of eating healthy and being physically active. We’ll show you some things to watch out for, and help you learn how to take care of yourself to help reduce the risk of complications. In short, we’ll be here for you through your journey with diabetes, step by step.
Yes, your life is about to change, but when you successfully manage your diabetes you improve your health in the short term and lower your chances of long-term health risks: you can live a longer and healthier life.
Don’t expect perfection. It’s not a race or competition. Just commit yourself to doing your personal best. Tell yourself that you’re worth it. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) condition that occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that is needed to move glucose (sugar) from the blood into the body’s cells, where it is used for energy. When insulin is missing or not working properly, glucose remains in the blood. That’s why diabetes is diagnosed by observing high levels of glucose in the blood.
Over time, the high levels of glucose in the blood (known as hyperglycaemia) can cause damage to many tissues in the body, leading to the development of disabling and life-threatening health complications.
Type 1 diabetes
In Type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, the body can no longer produce the insulin it needs. Why this occurs is not fully known or understood. The disease can affect people of any age, but it usually occurs in children or young adults. People with this form of diabetes need insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood. But with daily insulin treatment, regular blood glucose monitoring, healthy eating and maintaining healthy lifestyles, people with type 1 diabetes can lead normal, healthy lives.1
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It usually occurs in adults, but is being seen more in children and adolescents. In type 2 diabetes, the body is able to produce insulin but becomes resistant to the insulin so that the insulin no longer works properly. Over time, insulin levels may become too low to be effective. Both the insulin resistance and low insulin levels lead to high blood glucose levels.1
Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, many people with type 2 diabetes may not require daily insulin treatment to survive. The essential treatment for type 2 diabetes includes adopting a healthy eating plan, increasing physical activity, managing body weight and taking diabetes medicines if needed. A number of pills or tablets as well as injectable therapies including insulin when needed, are available to help control blood glucose levels for people with type 2 diabetes.
1. IDF Diabetes Atlas (7th Ed.) (2015). Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation.