Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease that results from the immune system attacking the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Unlike type 2 diabetes which is potentially preventable, type 1 is a non-preventable disease - currently, its exact cause is not known and there is no cure.
People with type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy for life either through injections or an insulin pump and they must regularly test their blood glucose levels by pricking their fingers, or using glucose sensing devices. The aim is to keep blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible and avoid episodes of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose), which both can increase the risk of long-term complications.
Currently, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented but it can be managed by administering insulin, monitoring glucose levels, having a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular physical activity.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. While people may have a strong genetic disposition towards type 2 diabetes, the risk is greatly increased if people display a number of modifiable lifestyle factors including high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity and poor diet.