​Diabetes is a long-term condition caused by too much glucose, a type of sugar, in the blood. The most common form is ‘Type 2 Diabetes’, which affects approximately 2.8 million people and more than one million people are thought to be undiagnosed. There is a ‘Type 1 Diabetes’, which tends to occur before the age of 40.


The main symptoms of diabetes are:
  • feeling very thirsty
  • going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
  • extreme tiredness
  • weight loss and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk)
Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented and can be managed; however it can also lead to many complications such as heart disease, stroke, amputation, kidney failure and even blindness. Early diagnosis and suitable health checks performed by a GP are essential to help prevent these complications from happening.
Living with diabetes can be difficult, but the right help, information and care at the right time throughout your life will help you to live well with diabetes. Your GP and nurse will arrange to see you at least every year and will perform some simple tests to help keep you fit and healthy. These tests will check your blood for glucose and cholesterol and assess how well your kidneys are working. You will also have a foot check and eye screening arranged.
If you know you have diabetes and have concerns or questions, you should arrange to see your GP or practice nurse.

To find out more and get advice visit the NHS Choices website.

Test your blood glucose

When you find out you have diabetes, it may be the first time you hear about blood glucose (sugar) testing to help you understand your disease. 

Once your diabetes has been brought under control you may need to test your blood glucose levels yourself.  This depends on what type of diabetes you have and how it is being treated.

• If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and you are using insulin, you will need to test your blood glucose on a regular basis. 

• If you have Type 2 diabetes and are taking a type of drug called a ‘sulphonylurea’ e.g. gliclazide, you may need to test your blood glucose a few times a week and for driving – check this with your doctor or nurse. 

• If you have Type 2 diabetes and take medication that is not a sulphonylurea you will not need to check your blood glucose on a regular basis or for driving.

In the following situations your doctor or nurse may advise you to test for a short period of time:

• During acute illness 

• If you have made lifestyle changes, eg diet 

• If you are fasting, eg during Ramadan 

• During energetic activities eg exercise

When you have your appointment to review your diabetes your doctor or nurse will arrange for you to have a blood test. This is very important to understand how your disease is being managed.​