What is diabetes? (click to close)

Diabetes is a condition in which the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. Your body produces glucose when you digest food. The blood carries glucose to all the cells of the body, where it is used as fuel. A hormone called insulin controls the level of glucose in your blood.

Diabetes develops when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or if your body is unable to use the insulin that is produced. The body’s cells become starved of glucose and at the same time the glucose level in your blood increases .

What are the types of diabetes? (click to close)

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2

Type 1 diabetes

  • People with type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin.
  • Type 1 diabetes is less common and it usually develops in children and young adults.
  • Type1 always requires treatment with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes

  • People with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin – or the body is unable to properly use the insulin that is being produced.
  • Type 2 diabetes is more common and it tends to develop gradually after the age of 40.
  • Type 2 may be treated with diet and exercise or may require antidiabetic medication and/or insulin injections.

What can I do to reduce my risk of diabetes? (click to close)

You can greatly reduce your risk of developing diabetes by:

  • eating healthily – reducing your intake of saturated fats, simple carbohydrates (white bread and white flour), sugar and salt
  • increasing fibre and omega 3 and 6 intake
  • reducing your weight
  • increasing physical activity
  • stopping smoking
  • reducing alcohol intake

Speak with you Haven pharmacist for advice on how to lower your risk of developing diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes? (click to close)

The symptoms for diabetes, which can vary from person to person, are:

  • increased thirst
  • passing more urine than usual – particularly at night
  • extreme tiredness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
  • slow healing of wounds
  • numbness/ tingling/pain in hands or feet.

Symptoms are usually relieved quickly once the diabetes is treated and under control.

What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes? (click to close)

  • if you are over the age of 40
  • if you have a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • if you had diabetes during pregnancy
  • if you are overweight for your height
  • if you do not take 30 minutes of
  • physical activity daily
  • if you have high blood pressure
  • if you have high cholesterol

The more symptoms or risk factors that you have the more likely you are to have diabetes or pre-diabetes

Why is diabetes bad for you? (click to close)

Diabetes can cause damage to different parts of the body:


  • Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and strokes

The eyes

  • Diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eye, leading to problems with your eyesight

The kidneys

  • Diabetes can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys.

The feet

  • Diabetes may cause problems with your circulation which can lead to ulcers on your feet.

The nerves

  • Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves which can lead to loss of sensation, pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities.

Can I be screened for diabetes? (click to close)

At Haven Pharmacy our highly trained pharmacists can quickly and painlessly measure your blood glucose level, and provide you with on the spot and accurate results.

Having a knowledge of your glucose levels can lead to better health control and help you to prevent health problems before they develop.

How are blood glucose levels measured? (click to close)

Blood glucose and blood sugar levels are interchangeable terms.

Blood sugar levels measure the amount of glucose in your blood. Usually this amount is expressed as millimoles per litre (mmol/l) and in people without diabetes stays stable around 4-8 mmol/l. Spikes usually occur after meals.

A normal fasting level should be 4-7 mmol/l.

A normal non-fasting level should be below 9 mmol/l when tested 2 hours after a meal.

Find out more about diabetes from your local Haven Pharmacist.