Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, chapatis, yams and plantain, from sugar and other sweet foods, and from the liver which makes glucose.
Insulin is vital for life. It is a hormone produced by the pancreas, that helps the glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body.
There are currently over two million people with diabetes in the UK. There are up to another 750,000 people with diabetes who have the condition and don’t know it.
Diabetes and endocrinology has busy centres on both sites, catering not only for patients with diabetes, but also patients with a full range of endocrine and lipid disorders.
For more information about services for patients with lipid disorders, see the lipid service page.
We also have more information about our obesity and bariatric surgery services.
The department has close links with local primary care organisations, and offers diabetes clinics with near-patient testing.
There are two main types of diabetes. These are:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes develops if the body is unable to produce insulin. This type of diabetes usually appears before the age of 40.
Type 1 diabetes is the least common of the two main types and accounts for 5 – 15% of all people with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). In most cases this is linked with being overweight.
This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian and African-Caribbean people often appears after the age of 25.
However, recently, more children are being diagnosed with the condition, some as young as seven. Type 2 diabetes is the most common of the two main types and accounts for 85 - 95% of all people with diabetes.