Managing and preventing diabetes

There are now over four million people in the U K with diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many complications, including sight loss.
 
What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is where your pancreas doesn't produce any insulin, and that means that you have really high levels of blood glucose.

Type 2 diabetes is where your pancreas may produce some insulin, but perhaps not as much as it used to. Your organs aren't able to take up the insulin effectively. This can be linked to being overweight and having fat around your organs, like your liver and your pancreas.
There is a well-established link between diabetes and sight loss.
Which type of diabetes can lead to this?
Both types of diabetes can lead to retinopathy, which is the complication that's linked to blindness. Complications of diabetes aren't just linked to high blood glucose levels. Your blood pressure and blood cholesterol are also related.
How can we help to prevent diabetes and associated conditions, such
as diabetic retinopathy?
Sadly we can't prevent Type 1 diabetes because it's not entirely known what causes it.

Regarding type 2 diabetes, there are lots of risk factors that can lead to a diagnosis of diabetes. Some of these are out of our control, such as our genetic background and family history.

However, some things we can control. Our lifestyle, particularly being overweight, having a large waist and a sedentary lifestyle are big risk factors.

Whether we have diabetes or not, we should all be aiming for a healthy, balanced diet. That should include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and be low in fat,
saturated fat, salt and sugar.
 
The tips around a healthy, balanced diet are crucial. Keeping an eye on your portion sizes is important, and added sugars should be kept to a minimum. These now have the new name of "free sugars". That’s anything that's added to products and also syrups, honey and fruit
juices.
 
So even purely natural products like honey should be enjoyed in
small amounts?
It may be natural, but there's no evidence that it's different from any other type of sugar. It has no additional health benefits. It raises your blood sugar in the same way.

Fruit juice is also classed as a type of free sugar, because once the juice is extracted, the sugar within is no longer contained in the structure of the fruit. Although this may provide important vitamins and minerals, you should limit your intake to no more than one small
150ml glass a day.

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