Types of Diabetes

What is diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high. Blood sugar/glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas which helps the body turn food into energy. If you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there isn’t enough insulin produced naturally or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly.

Type 1 Diabetes

Failure to produce insulin known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces no or little Insulin. It usually develops before the age of 40. If you have type 1 you will need to inject insulin for the rest of your life. You’ll need to pay special attention to your lifestyle and health to ensure your blood sugar/glucose stays balanced.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common type of diabetes occurs when your blood sugar/glucose is too high. The pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. Type 2 can be controlled or even reversed by eating healthier, exercising regularly and monitoring blood sugar/glucose levels, regularly. However, is it progressive and you may need medication. Type 2 is often associated with obesity.​

Gestational Diabetes

Ladies who previously did not have diabetes, during pregnancy, may have higher levels of blood sugar than normal. It affects 18 in 100 women during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of health problems developing in an unborn baby, so it is very important to keep the blood sugar/glucose in control. Usually developing in the second trimester, weeks 14-26. It does disappear after the birth of the child.



Weight Loss

Blurred Vision

Extreme Tiredness

Frequent Urination

Genitals Itching

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days, while many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general. You should therefore visit your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms, such as feeling thirsty, passing urine more often than usual and feeling tired all the time.

Sometimes, certain factors can influence the level of glucose in your body without you realising. These include illness, stress, missing meals, carrying out excessive or unplanned exercise, drinking alcohol, missing out on medication or eating and drinking sugary snacks. Some of these exercise periods or diets can lead to sudden Hypoglycaemia (hypos) or even cause Hyperglycaemia (hyper) which could lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Testing your blood glucose level on a regular basis gives you a picture of what’s happening and allows you to act quickly and sensibly. Therefore, changes will need to be implemented in your lifestyle and attention paid upon daily routines.


Blood glucose testing tells you if you’re within or outside of your target range. It’s important to keep a record of your results which will allow your diabetes healthcare team to assess your treatment and decide if any adjustments are necessary. This will ensure you use the correct amount of insulin and/or any other prescribed medication, especially after a meal. Call Palmdoc on 0800 994 9995 to order your free blood glucose monitoring log book.

Finger Prick Test

This is a simple, fast test which can be done using a blood glucose meter like the Palmdoc I or Palmdoc 2. The meter only requires a single drop of blood to measure the amount of circulating glucose.​


An HbA1C test is normally carried out either by your doctor, or by a nurse at least once a year. Some pharmacies also provide this service. HbA1c is a more accurate way of measuring how well your long term control of diabetes is progressing. It provides a measure of the average amount of glucose in your blood over the previous two to three months. For most people with diabetes, the current recommended target of HbA1c is 48mmol/mol (6.5%) and 58mmol/mol (7.5%) for individuals at risk of severe hypoglycaemia.

Ketone Test

When there is insufficient insulin to move glucose into the cells, the body starts to break down fat. This reaction produces toxic substances called ketones. High levels of ketones in the bloodstream can lead to a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and usually occurs only in patients with type 1 diabetes. If your blood glucose level is high, you can do a ketone test by using a urine test kit (using testing strips that you dip in your urine) that you can get from your pharmacy. If the results are high seek medical advice from your doctor or diabetes nurse as soon as possible.


Group of people Before Meal2 hours After Meal
Non-diabetic adult3.9 - 5.8mmol/LLess than 7.8mmol/L
Children and young people
with type 1 diabetes
4-8mmol/LLess than 10mmol/L
Adults with type 1 diabetes4-7mmol/LLess than 9mmol/L
Adults with type 2 diabetes4-7mmol/LLess than 8.5mmol/L
Pregnant women3.5 - 5.9mmol/LLess than 7.8mmol/L

*Each diabetic will have been given their own recommended high/low. The results above are government guidelines, but please discuss with your doctor/nurse/healthcare assistant when and how often you should perform your own blood test.