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Things you should know about diabetes

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Published: 4 August 2021

Person getting their blood pressure checked

Type-2 diabetes is a long-lasting and complicated illness that can impact your life in a wide number of ways.   

This week, the Health and Wellbeing team have been talking about the disease in their latest Chai and Chat.  

We’ve put together some of the most important things you need to know about diabetes and your risk of developing it.  

1) There isn’t a cure  

It’s caused either by the body not being able to make insulin or not use it at all  

Insulin is a hormone that’s used to regulate the amount of sugar in your blood so when you can’t get rid of it, it builds up and causes high blood sugar levels.   

That’s a problem because it means your cells won't get the energy they need to do their jobs.   

Right now, there is no cure, but it can be managed with medication. It’s technically called a ‘chronic’ disease because it lasts a long time.  

2) It’s growing  

There are now 3.9 million people in the UK with diabetes, more than at any other time in human history.  

Most concerning is that Type 2 diabetes, which was once thought of as a disease for older people, is becoming very common in younger adults.   

Researchers think this is due to higher levels of obesity in people between the ages of 18 to 30.  

3) It can go undiagnosed  

The symptoms of diabetes are not always obvious, so it’s important to get tested.  

If you’re older than 45 or overweight no matter your age, you should ask your GP about getting a test.  

The problem is that symptoms usually include tiredness, hunger and thirst, all of which happen over a long period.   

It can be life-threatening if not treated, so getting a test is simply a sensible option.  

4) Some people are more vulnerable than other  

Although scientists aren’t sure why diabetes affects certain people much more than others.   

If you fit into any of these categories, make sure you get tested.  

  • Overweight   
  • Having more belly fat than anywhere else on your body  
  • Not exercising  
  • Someone in your family has had it before  
  • If you are a member of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community  
  • If you’re older than 45  

5) It can be managed  

You can impact your risk of getting diabetes, as well as lessening the effects of it if you have already got it.   

Make sure you’re   

  • Maintaining a healthy weight  
  • Exercising for 30 minutes three times a week  
  • Limit the amount of sugar and fat you consume  
  • Avoid tobacco use  
  • Regularly check your blood sugar level if you’ve been diagnosed  

You can find out more about the Chai and Chat on the University of Sunderland in London’s Canvas information page. 

Your Health and Wellbeing team are available to talk with you Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm if you should need further support or information.   

Book your appointments through Compass, email the team at, or call on 0207 531 7343.  

Please note, Chai and Chat is not intended as a one-to-one session. If you would like to speak with a member of the Health and Wellbeing team confidentially, you’ll need to book an appointment.

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