Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.

There are two main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • Type 2 Diabetes – where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin

Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas (an organ near your stomach) that helps your body digest sugars (carbohydrate) and helps you use sugar for energy. Medication, insulin and/or dietary changes can help your body process sugar and maintain healthier blood sugar levels.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

What is happening?

Your body attacks the cells in your pancreas which means it cannot make any insulin

Your body is unable to make enough insulin or the insulin you do make doesn't work properly.

Risk Factors

We don't currently know what causes type 1 diabetes.

We know some things can put you at risk of having type 2 diabetes, such as weight and ethnicity.


The symptoms for type 1 diabetes appear more quickly.

Type 2 symptoms can be easier to miss because they appear more slowly.


Type 1 is managed by taking insulin to control your blood sugar.

You can manage type 2 diabetes in more ways than type 1. These include through medication, exercise and diet. People with type 2 can also be prescribed insulin.

Cure and Prevention

Currently there is no cure for type 1 diabetes but research continues.

Type 2 cannot be cured but there is evidence to say in many cases it can be prevented and put into remission.

Type 2 Diabetes is far more common than Type 1 Diabetes. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have Type 2 Diabetes.

During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as Gestational Diabetes.

How to prevent Diabetes

Moving more, spending less time sitting down and more time being active is key to preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. It could be a brisk walk around the park, playing a sport in the garden, or doing an online exercise class. Or it could be getting up from your seat and doing more around the house, such as vacuuming and tidying. Even moving a little more makes a big difference. Moving more can reduce your blood pressure, help you lose weight, improve your mood and your sleep.

For more inspiration visit: Diabetes UK / Move More 

Five ways to move your lower body while sitting

Seated Leg Tucks

  1. Sit on your chair and keep your back straight
  2. Raise both legs, bend your knees and bring them in towards your chest, then back out and lower them back to the floor

Seated Leg Raises

  1. Sit on your chair and keep your back straight
  2. Keep both legs straight whilst raising them up, then slowly bring them back down to the floor, repeat

Seated Leg Crossovers

  1. Sit on your chair and keep your back straight
  2. Raise both your legs and cross your left leg over your right leg, then cross your right leg over you left leg

Seated Cycling

  1. Sit on your chair and keep your back straight
  2. Bend your knees and move one leg at a time forward in a circular rotation

Seated Straight Leg Kicks

  1. Sit on your chair and keep your back straight. Raise your legs
  2. Keeping your legs straight, lift your right leg and then lower it.
  3. Repeat with your other leg


Five ways to move your upper body while standing

Hook Punches

  1. Make fists with your hands. Bring your left hand across your body and punch forwards with your right hand
  2. Repeat with opposite hands

Rolling Arms

  1. Stand still and move your arms over one another in a circular motion

Forward Punching 

  1. Stand still and punch forwards with one arm at a time


  1. Swing your right arm to the left, punching upwards
  2. Repeat with your left arm

Upward Punching

  1. Stand still and punch upwards with one arm at a time


Diabetes Support



How to join

My Type 1 Diabetes

My Type 1 Diabetes is a free digital resource that offers tailored advice and information created by NHS experts and people living with type 1 diabetes. Adults with type 1 diabetes, their families and carers, and healthcare professionals can use this platform to access information about type 1 diabetes through videos, articles, and accredited online education courses.

The programme is available now via self-referral. Start using the programme today by visiting: https://www.mytype1diabetes.nhs.uk/

Healthy Living for Type 2 Diabetes

Healthy Living for people with type 2 diabetes is a free online structured education programme designed to help users learn more about type 2 diabetes. Healthy Living has been clinically proven and can help participants live well with type 2 diabetes.

The programme is available to anyone over the age of 18, living in England with type 2 diabetes. Carers of those living with type 2 diabetes can sign up too.

The programme is available now via self-referral. Start using the programme today by visiting: https://www.healthyliving.nhs.uk/

Diabetes and Diet

Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can reduce your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes, or even put your Type 2 Diabetes into remission.

There isn’t a specific diet for Type 2 Diabetes – and advice may vary depending on your specific need. You might be able to achieve this by reducing your portion sizes, following a low carbohydrate diet (reducing bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cakes, biscuits etc), reducing your intake of fizzy drinks and/or cutting back on processed food. There are several services in Bristol that may help you with your weight and diet – for more information see our weight management page

Our BVM Dietitian can help you swap to a lower carbohydrate diet which can help you lose weight and get your blood sugars under control. See our diet and nutrition page for more information