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Diabetes is a disorder, caused by the lack of the hormone insulin, which alters your body's ability to store or use glucose (the source of energy that comes from carbohydrates / sugars).
It also causes problems in metabolising fats and speeds up the degeneration of blood vessels.
There are two main types of diabetes, each of which require slightly different treatment. Usually some form of dietary control is needed.
If you already have other cardiovascular risk factors then your risks multiply. The good news is that there are things you can do to control your diabetes and reduce your cardiovascular risks.
In Type 1 diabetes, the symptoms develop quickly over a few weeks, but Type 2 diabetes develops gradually over many years. You may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
Treatment for Type 1 diabetes involves having insulin injections every day. There are many different types of insulin and the best regime will be worked out for you depending on your age and lifestyle.
Type 2 diabetes may be controlled by diet alone or by a combination of diet, tablets and in some cases, insulin injections. There are several different groups of drugs used for diabetes. Your GP will prescribe the most suitable one for you.
Diet plays an important role in both types, particularly in controlling the intake of carbohydrates and sugars. Eating a healthy, varied diet is also important for reducing your overall risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is important to get your diabetes under the best possible control:
To minimise any other complications of diabetes it is recommend that you: