Diabetes is caused by too much glucose in the blood. It's a long-term condition and is also known as diabetes mellitus. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces too little or no insulin in order to break glucose down into energy. Insulin controls the amount of glucose in the blood and moves glucose from your blood into your cells after you eat. If you are diabetic, this doesn't happen. Find out more about the diabetes services we offer at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust. Symptoms of diabetes Some of the main, common symptoms of diabetes include: feeling very thirsty going to the toilet a lot, especially at night extreme tiredness weight loss and muscle wasting, which you may notice through loss of muscle bulk. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. What is type 1 diabetes? Type 1 diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the body produces no insulin. It can also be referred to as juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes because it usually develops before the age of 40, often during teenage years. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin injections for life. You will also need to ensure your blood glucose levels stay balanced by eating a healthy diet and carrying out regular blood tests. What is type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to function properly, or when the body's cells are insulin resistant and do not react to insulin. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to control your symptoms by eating a healthy diet and monitoring your blood glucose level. However, type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition and you may eventually need to take insulin medication, which is usually in tablet form. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity, and this obesity-related diabetes is also known as maturity-onset diabetes, as it's more common in older people. Self-care If you are living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are things you can do to look after your health to make treating your diabetes easier and minimise the risk of developing diabetes-related complications. Regular reviews: Stay in touch with your healthcare team or named contact for your diabetes care so can you discuss your symptoms or concerns. This means they can give you advice on how to manage your diabetes. You should also get your eyes, feet and nerves checked regularly - all of which can be affected by diabetes. Eat healthily: Eating a healthy diet, high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in fat, salt and sugar will help you manage your diabetes more effectively. Remember you can ask your healthcare team for dietary advice or a dietary plan if you need it. Exercise regularly: Physical activity helps lower your blood glucose level, so exercising regularly if you have diabetes is very important. You should aim to do 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as fast walking or cycling, every week. Do not start a new activity without consulting your diabetes healthcare team or GP first. As exercise will affect your blood glucose level, you and your diabetes care team may have to adjust your insulin treatment or diet plan to keep your blood glucose level. Do not smoke: If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing a cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack or stroke. You will also be at a higher risk of smoking related conditions, such as lung cancer. Drink alcohol in moderation: Alcohol can cause either high or low blood glucose levels, so drink alcohol in moderation and never on an empty stomach if you have diabetes. Remember that drinking alcohol can also affect your ability to carry out insulin treatment or blood glucose monitoring. The recommended alcohol limit is 3 to 4 units a day for men and 2 to 3 units a day for women. Keep well: Anyone with a long-term condition such as diabetes is encouraged to get a flu vaccination each autumn. You're also advised to get an anti-pneumococcal vaccination to protect you against the serious chest infection known as pneumococcal pneumonia. Treating diabetes While diabetes cannot be cured, we can help you keep your blood glucose level as normal as possible and prevent health problems developing later in life. The treatment we offer includes: information and support if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes access to structured diabetes education programmes, including programmes if you are newly diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with the condition for a while an agreed care plan, helping you manage your care and lead a healthy lifestyle, including a named contact for your care information, care and support to enable you to optimise control of your blood glucose, maintain a good blood pressure and minimise risks for developing complications associated with diabetes providing services to identify and treat complications associated with diabetes, such as screening for diabetic retinopathy and specialised foot care advice and support to help people at risk of diabetes reduce the risk. Find out more about the diabetes services we offer at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust.