Diabetes symptoms: What to spot

A woman measures her blood sugar levels.
A woman measures her blood sugar levels. Photo: PA

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where the amount of sugar in your blood is too high so the body cannot use it properly.

Sufferers are unable to break down glucose into energy because it does not have enough insulin, the hormone needed to do that.

There are 2 types of diabetes

Those with Type 1 diabetes must inject insulin for the rest of their lives as their bodies attack the cells which produce it. It is usually hereditary and diagnosed young.

Type 2, which is more common and affects 80 per cent of sufferers, can be controlled by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring blood sugar levels.

What are the symptoms?

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Urinating frequently, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss/loss of muscle bulk
An overweight woman at high risk of developing diabetes.
An overweight woman at high risk of developing diabetes. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Who is most at risk?

New research published in the journal BMJ Open claims those who are obese and from poorer backgrounds are at 'substantial risk' of developing diabetes.

Other risk factors are:

  • Aged over 40 (or 25 if you are South Asian)
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Ever suffered from high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes

How can diabetes be controlled?

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet low in fat, salt and sugar
  • Not smoking, as it increases risk of heart disease and strokes
  • Staying active for 30 minutes, five days a week

And it's important to look after your feet

It's really important to take extra good care of your feet if you have diabetes as it can cause nerve damage and poor circulation.

If you have diabetes you are 15 times more likely to have a limb amputated due to gangrene because of this.

Find your diabetes risk score here