There are two main types of diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes – represents 10 – 15% of all cases of diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes – is more likely in people with a family history of type 2 diabetes or from particular ethnic backgrounds

In addition to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there are two other types of diabetes:

Pre-diabetes is a condition when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Left untreated it may develop into type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy and mostly disappears after the birth.

A person is diagnosed with diabetes every 5 minutes

Do I have type 2 diabetes?

Type 1

  • Occurs when the pancreas no longer produces the insulin needed
  • Represents 10 – 15% of all cases of diabetes
  • Is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in developed nations
  • Is not caused by lifestyle factors
  • Type 1 diabetes is increasing at about 3% a year
  • Type 1 requires insulin therapy

Type 2

  • Occurs when the pancreas is not producing enough insulin and the insulin is not working effectively
  • Represents 85 – 90% of all cases of diabetes
  • Risk factors include family history, ethnic background and being overweight – particularly around the waist
  • Lifestyle factors such as unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes
  • Managed with lifestyle and may require diabetes medication as well as insulin therapy


  • Usually in childhood or young adulthood, although it can occur at any age.


  • Usually in adults over the age of 45 but it is increasingly occurring at a younger age.


  • Usually abrupt onset. Symptoms can include excessive thirst and urination, unexplained weight loss, weakness and fatigue, irritability.


  • Sometimes symptoms go unnoticed as the disease develops gradually. Symptoms may include any of those for type 1 diabetes plus blurred vision, skin infections, slow healing, tingling and numbness in the feet. Sometimes no symptoms are noticed at all.


  • Lifelong daily insulin injections or use of an insulin pump, regular blood glucose level tests, healthy eating and regular physical activity.


  • Regular physical activity and healthy eating. Over time treatment may progress from lifestyle modification to requiring blood glucose-lowering tablets and/or insulin injections.