Beat Diabetes -World Health Day

Thursday 7 April is World Health Day, and this year the campaign is focused on halting the rise of diabetes around the globe.

The World Health Organisation estimates that about 350 million people worldwide have diabetes; of those cases, around 90% are type 2.

While the genetic cause and a permanent cure for type 1 diabetes is currently unknown, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and can be managed in part through sensible lifestyle choices like diet and exercise.

This year, take the time to learn the symptoms of diabetes and educate yourself about how to minimise the risks – it could save your life.

The symptoms


The symptoms for type 1 and type 2 diabetes are much the same, but when and how we experience the symptoms are slightly different.

Type 1 diabetes often develops quickly within weeks or even days – it can develop at any age, but typically appears before the age of 40 and especially in childhood.

Type 2 diabetes on the other hand is most common in adults over the age of 40 and the symptoms can develop slowly over a period of weeks, months or years, and may not be immediately apparent. For many people, diabetes is diagnosed through a routine check-up with their doctor.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Needing a wee more frequently than usual, in particular at night
  • Feeling very tired or exhausted
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of muscle bulk
  • Blurred vision and headaches

Since the symptoms tend to be general, people can sometimes live with diabetes for years without realising.

If you do have symptoms however, speak to your GP – the sooner you can manage your diabetes, the lower the risk of developing complications from it.

Lowering risk

Unlike type 1 diabetes where the cause is completely out of our control, with type 2 diabetes there are things you can do to help reduce the risk of it developing. Risk factors include genetics and ethnicity, which can’t be changed, but also include weight, lifestyle and diet.

People with a BMI of over 25 are at higher risk than those in the healthy range. Similarly, those with a high waist measurement (31.5 inches for women, 37 inches for white and black men, 35 inches for Asian men) are also at greater risk.

You can minimise your risk by taking a sensible approach to diet and exercise; as little as 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise several times a week and a balanced diet that avoids food and drink high in fat and sugar will greatly reduce the chance of developing diabetes as you age.

Likewise, if you’re overweight, losing weight safely to come within the healthy range can also lower your risk. Like many other diseases, drinking alcohol only in moderation and quitting smoking will also lower risk. 

Complications from diabetes

There’s no cure for diabetes, but for many, type 2 diabetes can be managed through healthy diet and regular exercise, and by closely monitoring your health. If your diabetes progresses, you may eventually need medication to help keep your blood glucose at a normal level.

Simple changes can be enough to improve your health and condition; increasing the amount of fibre in your diet, avoiding saturated fat and high-fat foods, and eating plenty of fruit, unsalted nuts, vegetables and fish and lean meats can go a long way to helping keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Ignoring diabetes is never the answer – if you have been diagnosed or suspect you could be at risk of diabetes, speak to your GP. Complications from diabetes can lead to serious long-term health problems that can impact your quality of life. It’s the most common cause of vision loss and blindness and puts you up to five times more likely to develop heart disease of have a stroke. Kidney disease, sexual dysfunction and foot problems are all complications that can also arise.

Has World Health Day inspired you to think about diabetes differently? Were you aware of the risks? Let us know your experiences with diabetes in the comments below.


All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.


Have you got a health question?

We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click below to submit your query online.


* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.


The following two tabs change content below.

Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

Latest posts by Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor (see all)

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!