Managing diabetes

Is it type 1 or type 2 diabetes?
There are different types of diabetes. Find out about the main types and how each is treated.
Type 1
Type 1 diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.1 Diabetes UK’s video below explains more about type 1 diabetes.
Type 2
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don’t react to insulin.1 Diabetes UK’s video below explains more about type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in African, African-Caribbean and South Asian people. The number of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing.2
How to treat type 1 diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes need to use insulin to treat their diabetes. Insulin helps to control blood glucose levels in the body.3 Insulin can be taken by having an injection or using an insulin pump.

People with type 1 diabetes are at risk of hypoglycaemia (a hypo). Symptoms of a hypo include:

  • Sweating
  • Being anxious or irritable
  • Feeling hungry
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Blurred vision
  • Shaking or trembling.4
Treating a hypo
A hypo needs to be treated quickly. Eating or drinking something sugary will help, such as:
  • 3 dextrose or glucose sweets
  • 5 small sweets, like jelly babies
  • 1 glass of non-diet sugary drink (a mini can of cola is ideal)
  • 1 glass of fruit juice.4
Some people with type 1 diabetes might also be able to have an islet cell transplant. This may help stop severe hypos.
How to treat type 2 diabetes

Treatment for type 2 diabetes will usually start with an initial drug treatment. This is one single treatment to lower blood glucose levels, without using insulin. This is known as monotherapy.1 The most common drug used in this type of treatment is a tablet called metformin.

Some people with type 2 diabetes might have to use insulin at some point, but many people can manage their type 2 diabetes with a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Visit your nearest pharmacy

Get support and advice from your local Well pharmacist

  1. Diabetes. Published October 18, 2017. Accessed October 6 2022.
  2. Introduction | Type 2 diabetes in adults: management | Guidance | NICE. Accessed October 6 2022.
  3. Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes UK. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  4. Type 1 diabetes - Hypoglycaemia (hypos). Published July 24, 2018. Accessed November 30, 2020.

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