There are two main types of diabetes, known as Type 1 and Type 2. Both types of diabetes are lifelong health conditions. There are 4.05 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 549,000 people who have the condition but don't know it.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin, it is not caused by diet or lifestyle.
Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 10 per cent of all adults with diabetes and is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity. Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age but usually appears before the age of 40, and especially in childhood. It is the most common type of diabetes found in childhood.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).
Type 2 diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian people, who are at greater risk, it often appears from the age of 25. It is also increasingly becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities. Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 85 and 95 per cent of all people with diabetes and is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition to this, medication and/or insulin are often required.
In Type 2 diabetes there is not enough insulin (or the insulin isn’t working properly), so the cells are only partially unlocked and glucose builds up in the blood.
Research is our hope for the future. Everything we know about caring for diabetes is a result of research and breakthroughs from scientists we've proudly funded. But demand for research has never been higher, which is why we spend millions on high-quality projects to reduce the impact of diabetes on people’s lives.