Diabetes, type 2 


Gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)

Sometimes, a woman's blood glucose levels can increase during pregnancy, making it difficult for insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes and affects approximately 5% of pregnant women.

Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of health problems developing in an unborn baby, so it is important you keep the glucose levels in your blood under control.

In most cases, gestational diabetes disappears after the baby is born. However, women who develop the condition have about a 30% risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Read more about gestational diabetes.

Have you had your flu jab?

If you have diabetes you should have a flu jab every year. Find out why and how

Healthy living with diabetes

Diabetes can have serious health consequences, including heart disease and blindness. But with careful management you can reduce your risk

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.

In the UK, approximately 2.9 million people are affected by diabetes. There are also thought to be around 850,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.

Types of diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes, referred to as type 1 and type 2.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don't react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn't produce any insulin at all. In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

This topic focuses on type 2 diabetes. You can read more information on type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes usually affects people over the age of 40, although increasingly younger people are also being affected. It is more common in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern descent.

Diabetes symptoms

Diabetes can cause various symptoms. Symptoms common to both types of diabetes include:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • urinating frequently, particularly at night
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk

Read more about symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

You should visit your GP as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.

Causes of type 2 diabetes

Insulin is a hormone produced by part of the pancreas, a large gland located behind the stomach.

Insulin controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It moves glucose from the blood into your cells, where it is converted into energy.

In type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced to maintain a normal blood glucose level (insulin deficiency), or your body is unable to use the insulin that is produced effectively (insulin resistance).

Read more about the causes of type 2 diabetes.

Treating type 2 diabetes

It is important diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible. Diabetes cannot be cured, but treatment aims to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible to control your symptoms and minimise health problems developing later.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may be referred to a diabetes care team for specialist treatment, or your GP surgery may provide first line diabetes care.

In some cases of type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to control your symptoms by altering your lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet (see below).

However, as type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, you may eventually need medication to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. To start with this will usually take the form of tablets, but later on it may include injected therapies, such as insulin.

Read more about treating type 2 diabetes.


Left untreated, diabetes can cause many health problems. Large amounts of glucose can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs.

Even a mildly raised glucose level that doesn't cause any symptoms can have damaging effects in the long term.

Read more about different complications of type 2 diabetes.

Living with diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you will be advised to look after your health carefully. Caring for your health will also make treating your diabetes easier and minimise your risk of developing complications.

It helps to eat a healthy, balanced diet, stop smoking (if you smoke), drink alcohol in moderation and take plenty of regular exercise.

Read more about living with type 2 diabetes.

Last reviewed: 24/07/2012

Next review due: 24/07/2014


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Comments are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Fat Baldy 66 said on 19 February 2013

Yesterday, February 18th 2013, I was informed I had low level type 2 diabetes. had the wind knocked out of my sails and so I did not think to ask these questions of my GP;

Am I on Metformin for a long time?
Do I need to get a meter to test my blood?
Apart from losing some weight (I acknowledge I am ratehr heavy) is there anything else I can do?
What if anything must I been concerned about?
Is Type2 diabetes a lifelong diagnosis, or can I be 'cured'?

Any ideas anyone?

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Aidan Bertie said on 31 October 2012

Very nice post,
I got more information from your post. Because before some day I trying to understand about types of diabetes. After reading your post I know all about which is in my mind.
Thanks For Sharing

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Mush55 said on 01 October 2012

My 7 year old daughter has been very up and down for past two months or so. Suffers with constant recurring tonsil problems which often need antibiotics, eventually I asked for some blood tests and was shocked when her glucose came back at 2.8 , it was done about 4.30 in the afternoon being roughly 4 hours since her lunch at school. Phosphate was also high at 1.93 but was told this wasm not a problem, whilst waiting for other results to come back I decided to home check and took blood two hours after dinner around 5.30 in the afternoon and reading was 11.2 what can possibly make these massive extremes ??? I am continuing with my checks and will update my findings after school today before and after food but would appreciate any feed back ......please .....

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Maryagross said on 21 September 2012

Thanks for sharing your information with us. Also, diabetes is in fact an incurable condition, which can only be treated or controlled and can never be cured. And the best way to control, prevent and treat type 2 diabetes is by taking a biguanide class of medicine called metformin. I had tried this drug for my type 1 diabetes treatment. To know more about metformin drug you can read this article.

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Phil68 said on 24 August 2012

I just stumbled on this page while checking some details for a friend on another matter, just thought i'd write a few words :)

I'm always stunned by the way Dr's categorize diabetes as just being related to weight, and how its completely random if the Dr seems to know just what to recommend about the subject.

I've had diabetes for 30 years+ and never weighed over 12.5 stone, and I know many many very overweight people, yet none are diabetic, and all of the 10 friends I have who are type 2 now have never been overweight. Kind of knocks the whole idea on its head ?

Eating too much doesn't cause diabetes, never has and never will. As has been mentioned in the earlier posts, weight control is more likely to be a thyroid problem, even if it hasn't fully shown up yet, and all Dr's should be testing that as a matter of course.

I've even been told by a consultant that how my own insulin reacts is not possible - he laughed at me as I told him, so that didn't help my confidence lol.

I now take care of my own diabetes, and keep a healthy blood/sugar of 7.3 average.

Some here have asked "Am i really diabetic?" when they have sugar levels of 6/7/8 etc., but rest assured . . . you 'will' know if you get it, with diabetes it's not hit & miss random numbers - your level will go up and up, and over 10/15 easily. In a non-diabetic, the type of insulin is instant reacting/producing, so it stays in control.

Each person has a personal 'normal' level, and always below 10. Saying it should be 6.5 or 7.3 etc. is wrong, it varies soooo much, but if its staying over 10, you need to get it checked properly.

Checking just after a long sleep should give a low level as sleep lower your sugar (no exercise so the body slows down in all things, and stops burning body fat etc., hence lower glucose levels), and 15 mins after a meal should be higher, then low again (average 6-8) after another 15 mins.

Hope that helps somebody a little.

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Dissatisfied said on 21 August 2012

I am dental phobic
I have big teeth roots and my previous dentists have always had a problem to extract a tooth.
During the initial check up I asked if I could have gas, but they said as I am diabetic that gas would compromise my illness and no I could not have gas.I have had minor operations in which I had either sedation by injection or general anesthetic and neither presented any problems.
Can you advise me as to what options I have. I live in Wisbech.

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T2Dnomore said on 09 July 2012

I was diagnosed with T2 in 1993, read an article in 1998 in The Glade an Archery magazine, and changed my diet to low carb high fat. My BG and A1c have been in the normal range ever since. And no pills!!

I have just found a new site at http://www.curediabeteswithdiet.org, which I think is by the man who cured my T2 fifteen years ago. I can recommend it.

I asked my doctor, if my BG and A1C are always normal, am I still diabetic? All he said was Thats an interesting question!!!

I don’t think I can be now. My latest A1c was 5.4 for example.

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Rikste67 said on 31 March 2012


if your blood glucose before meals is between 4 and 7 you do fine. In the morning before breakfast it preferably should be between 5 and 6.
This is a good guideline and by the looks of your average you do fine.
This is what I have been told when i first was diagnosed with diabetes in 1995.
Hopefully it will help you a bit more.

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Pauliepops said on 30 March 2012

Hi Im fairly new to this i am type 2 and was never given the chance to help myself with weight loss i was
placed on methoram and simstatin tablets from the start. my readings are on average 6.8 t0 7.7 is this bad as i have been told i need to keep then under 6.00, please could someone help me with there experience.

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Snake009 said on 26 January 2012

Taking into account the hype over bodyweight (obesity) being a contributory factor in my "poor" readings from my most recent blood tests, I would like to ask a 'simple' question.

If (as my GP insists), my bodyweight is one of the major factors governing my apparently badly controlled cholesterol and blood-sugar levels - how is it that my previously 'normal range' results were achieved when I was almost a full stone heavier?

Is he suggesting that I should try to regain this weight in an attempt to reduce my levels to their previously 'acceptable' levels? (No! I don't believe he is!)

Unfortunately, the facts appear to have dumbfounded him and it has left me confused and mistrusting of so-called "professional advice".

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geminii said on 02 December 2011

Newly diagnosed Late Onset Diabetics might well query their Thyroid Levels;

I was told I was diabetic but a better informed GP at my workplace told me I had a Thyroid Problem because I was putting on weight, tired, felt the cold, and my eyebrows had all but disappeared. Two blood tests over three months confirmed his diagnosis. Taking the thyroid medication got rid of all the diabetic symptoms for the last 18 years and I have been able to turn down the thermostat and save my heating bills!

Three of my friends have been diagnosed with Late Onset Diabetes and they have all gone on to need Thyroid Supplementation.

I believe these organs inter-relate yet patients are treated for the "most likely" without doing the tests for the other probable causes.

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shazx63 said on 03 November 2011

omg!....As a fairly recent diagnosed type 2 diabetic...Im even more confused after watching the show then reading some of the comments on here contradicting some of the things on TV! I was told that even as a Type 2 that once you got it there is no Cure 4 it only Management of the condition. Also when I mention to the nurse that Im so tired ll the time & I do get shakey & bit 'drifty' when Iv not eaten..She seems to scratch her head & wonder why as Im only bordermine type 2 diabetic...I feel a bit of a fake @ times but I do feel these things! :0(
Does anyone know of where I can get a diabetic menu planner from please as Im getting to grips roughly on what I should be eating but not being able to put a days menu together due to knowing what daily amounts of what are required as the dietition wasnt much help :0(
I am so confused with it all! :0(

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copelands said on 02 November 2011

I was really very concerned about part of your piece onType 2 Diabetes last Evening.

At one point the guy with diabetis was seen to take his blood glucose level and tell the "doctor" it was 3.9. The Doctor the sais "that's waht we ant".
Frankly THAT IS NOT WHAT WE WANT. A reading of 3.9 is either on the edge of a hypo or well into one depending on the person. Bel;ive me your diabetic would not have been sitting there smiling if his reading was 3.9. He would be sweating, trembling qand beginning to become incoherent.

I only hope that as a result of your piec no-one goes out to drive a car at that level of glucose.

Additionally, a reading of 8.5 does NOT mean that your toes are going to drop off !!! it is slightly higher that the upper limit of 7.9 which is recommended.

It worries me that you are getting such important things wrong at such an early stage in the series.

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help please said on 13 October 2011

i have so many diseases in my family i am wondering if these diseases are hereditary to something that happened 10 years ago and linked or something because my dad has diabetes, chronic back problems, a history of skin things that cause cancer, glasses, and my uncle has or had colon cancer and my niece is four years old with epelepsy and i have had prostate cancer, like four or five different days with different pains all over my body like my lungs hurt my knees hurt at one point, my muscles in my feet hurt at one point, i broke my neck four years ago then in the same month both of my grandfathers died of bleeding in the brain its kind of like its contagious because i my three closest friends that have rare diseases that happened after it started happening and all this started occuring in the last 10 years.

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alionuska4 said on 02 August 2011

hello,I have a quesstion about diabet issue ,my brother wants to move from lithuania, for a work here,but unfortunatly he has this illnes,we would like to learn what he will need to do, which documents,papers he will need to have, to get insulin here.

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lesret said on 15 June 2011

Having been told I am type 2 diabetic some five years ago and placed on all the usual pills Glucophage etc..
I was a few months ago put on Victoza injections at 1.2ml per day.
I lost 1.5 stone over three month combined with both diet and exercise.
Fantastic I thought untill I received late last evening a FDA MedWatch Alert from the FDA warning of Risk of Thyroid C-cell Tumors and Acute Pancreatitis associated with the use of Victoza.
Where do Victoza users go from here.

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redman66 said on 06 May 2011

After working in a hospital for 19 years im now retired i found out is was a type 2 diabetic diagnose by a doctor i was working with im now under my own gp .
it was very hardat first but now im use to it.
last year i was put on to insulin and i have found that i now lost some weight i was 14st im now down to 13 st so i have lost a stone.
i some times have my on off days as well does anyone else feel like this.
would love to hear from anyone on this
thank you for reading thid little story..

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redman66 said on 05 May 2011

iv had type2 for 2years i have lost about 2stone but sometimes feel very tired is this part of this conditionwould like to loose more.

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aileen95 said on 16 April 2011

I have been a type 2 diabetic for over ten years and recently my control has slipped. I take Metformin. I am now trying to get control of my blood sugar again, but am given to understand that as a type 2 I am not allowed testing strips - because they are too expensive, and are restricted by the PCT. Surely this is a short sighted measure. Even folllowing low GI, without testing I wouldn't have found that porridge, using old fashioned oats, which is supposed to be low GI and good for me; actually puts up my blood glucose to between 11 & 13 2 hours after eating. Not good. As I have stomach problems I have been eating porridge for breakfast and my evening meal.

No wonder my Hbac1 is going up. If I can't test, how am I to find out which carbohydrates suit me - not all diabetics are the same. I am told that I can test once a WEEK, if I must test, but I need to be testing after meals and when I feel 'odd'.

Also new drugs like Victoza and Sitagliptin are being put on Red Lists as 'too expensive', but if weight is lost and blood glucose control maintained at a non-diabetic level (as can be done) then surely it will save a great deal of money in the long term.

Also I should be able to take some control of my own illness. If I get a Hbac1 every year, how am I supposed to know how my glucose levels are and keep control of this illness.

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chrisnonso53 said on 28 February 2011

can diabetis be cause by spiritual influences

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John Falkner said on 12 February 2011

Obesity is the current in vogue condition to blame every illness on, including diabetes. It is so easy to say if you are fat you will get diabetes. I have type 2 insulin treated diabetes. At 55 after a very active life both in work and in hill and mountain climbing I realised that my fitness was fading. I put this down to age.I now realise it was the start of diabetes but I did not suspect that at the time. My father developed diabetes at age 62 and was treated by tablets and diet. Between 55 and 60 I put on two or three stones in weight much to my chagrin, for no apparent reason. At age 62 I developed full blown type 2 at the exact same time that my father had developed it. He was not an overweight man.but we obviously had the same gene. It is too easy to blame everyone for this particular illness, on big appetites and excessive drinking, I do neither and never have. I think diabetics get a bad press because as I said at the beginning obesity is such an easy explanation to put forward. I think it is more complicated than that.

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lindakp said on 03 February 2011

I get very upset when most articles state that Type 2 Diabetes is usually caused by obesity. I am not obese and never have been. If fact my BMI is in the healthy range.

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ourjoe said on 15 November 2010

There is a fantastic online learning course which is completely free to sign up for and I found it incredibly useful. Our whole department was recommended to complete the course as it pre-empts many issues with the safe delivery of insulin. The course is on the NHS Diabetes website http://www.diabetes.nhs.uk/safe_use_of_insulin/elearning_course/

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suntexi said on 06 November 2010

I agree that obesity is a symptom, not a cause of diabetes. My sister, my father, my two aunts and my grandmother (who later was diagnosed with type 2) are or were helplessly obese - no amount of dieting helped. Obesity is genetic (the geniuses have only just found THAT out). If you eat any carbs, then, because the body can't use them, it stores them away. I can cut out carbs but all that happens is that I get hypoglycaemic. I'm on 40mg of Gliclacide per diem and that seems to generate enough insulin to cause hypos. It was reduced from 80mg as I couldn't go shopping without needing a sugar fix to stop the hypo - practically every time. I'm also on 3x850mg Metformin which helps a bit. My 3-month blood sugar is now a fairly stable 7-7.5. My instant blood sugar, just before a hypo is about 3.5. I'm not a chocolate freak, I drink moderately, but I have another problem that prevents exercise - I suffer from atrial fibrillation, which is probably triggered by diabetes, and round and round we go. My blood pressure's ok -- typically 120/75 as is my cholesterol (about 2.5). The only time I came close to my recommended weight was at age 17 when I suffered a severe (3-month) bout of mononucleosis and my weight went down to 13st. 7lb. (I'm 6' 4") and I was told that I looked like a corpse. I'd like to reduce my weight to 18st or less, but it's literally, a losing battle. The local health centre won't let me exercise there because of the Afib.
It's all hopeless.

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marketshare said on 28 February 2010

What works for one person is not guaranteed to work for all. To be updated with all developments in diabetes you can visit http://everythingaboutdiabetes.blogspot.com

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Wrong diagnosis said on 18 February 2010

In 2006 I had a test done and I was very marginally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was hovering over 16 stone and I liked my food too much but made an instantaneous change in lifestyle and lost a stone, as soon as I made the changes by cutting out sugar all together the next couple of tests were normal, I have not had any fasting tests since and don’t consider myself diabetic, just recently I have been getting letters from the doctors asking me to go for tests, I have previously written to him to request that my name be removed from the register. Having being diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago and thankfully making a good recovery I have lost over 5 stone and during my stay in hospital I mentioned this earlier diagnosis of diabetes but every test that was carried out was normal.
The question I would like to ask is what right do I have to get the diagnosis reversed and information removed from my medical records as I believe I may have been miss diagnosed in the first instance, I have no intention of having anymore tests carried out for this condition.
Thanks for reading

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Reverse Diabetes said on 07 January 2010

When I was informed that I had diabetes type 2, I thought it was the start of the down hill - in my late 30's - But at 45, I made a major lifestyle change that introduced eating the right foods at the right times and doing a little exercise. After 6 months I had completely managed to reverse the situation and lose 4 stone of weight - two birds with one stone. I have now managed to do some 10k runs, a half marathon and really enjoy life - and for the past year (now 46) managed to keep the weight off and my sugar levels normal without any medication. More information on how I did this can be found on http://www.howireverseddiabetes.com - Now that I have reversed it I am a media role model for Diabetes UK and would love to get my message that change for the better can take place with a little effort. If anyone would like some help with answers to how I did it email me through the website - all the best to those who try to become healthier - Andrew

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jaxhogan said on 10 December 2009

I agree.

If diabetes is essentially the inability to process carbohydrates effectively, then it would seem to make sense to eat less of them!

I also believe than obesity is a SYMPTOM of diabetes, not a CAUSE. If your body doesn't metabolise carbs properly, then you don't get energy from them. So you eat more to compensate. QED.

I've been diabetic for nearly a year, and applying this thought process has brought my BG down from 17.9 to 5.1. That convinced me!

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TKes said on 26 November 2009

The diet recommended for type2 diabetics is based on carbohydrate-rich foods. Then a diabetic has to take a variety of drugs to reduce excess blood glucose. Wouldn't it be better to eat less carbohydrates so as not to raise blood glucose too much in the first place?

That is what is recommended at http://www.diabetes-diet.org.uk, and it certainly works for me. I found after just one breakfast of scrambled eggs ij butter, my glucose was the lowest it's been in years. It was amazing!

For several weeks now I have stuck to a very low carb diet and my glucose has st5ayed in the normal range. I guess I am now no longer diabetic?

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