The main symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes can include:
Passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
Unexplained weight loss
Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
Slow healing of cuts and wounds
In Type 1 diabetes the signs and symptoms are usually very obvious and develop very quickly, typically over a few weeks. The symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes is treated and under control.
In Type 2 diabetes the signs and symptoms may not be so obvious, as the condition develops slowly over a period of years and may only be picked up in a routine medical check up. Symptoms are quickly relieved once diabetes is treated and under control.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, has accused the healthcare system of being "all too often not good enough" when tackling diabetes.
People with diabetes needed self-management support programmes, along with ongoing medical support and education if they were to avoid complications and reduce the risk of early death, she added.
Given that diabetes is serious and can lead to early death if not supported to manage their condition, it is extremely worrying that so few people have it under control.
When you consider that there are now three million people diagnosed with diabetes and this number is rising quickly, the fact that so many of them do not have good control over their diabetes means that unless something changes we face a public health disaster.
Diabetes is a common life-long health condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.
This is because your pancreas does not produce any insulin, or not enough, to help glucose enter your body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. As a result the body is unable to produce insulin and this leads to increased blood glucose levels, which in turn can cause serious damage to all organ systems in the body.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced.