What is diabetes? Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can affect the entire body. Find information and advice on the symptoms, treatment and prevention of diabetes including diabetes type 2. Learn more about the causes, diagnosis and management of this chronic condition here.

What is diabetes?

There are three main types of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes that all involve the body's improper use of glucose.

Causes of diabetes

The causes of type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes differ, and despite popular belief, none of them are directly caused by eating too much sugar.

Treating diabetes

If you have diabetes, your lifestyle and/or medication will have to work together to bring your blood-glucose levels under control.

Diabetes complications

All the complications of diabetes can be prevented or delayed with good diabetes control. Learn more.

Symptoms of diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, increased urination, weight loss and fatigue. It is important to recognise these symptoms as, left untreated, diabetes can cause coma and even death

Diagnosing diabetes

Diabetes is diagnosed by measuring the blood glucose levels in the blood.

Risk factors for diabetes

Risk factors such as genetics and lifestyle choices influence one's chances of developing diabetes. Learn more.

Who gets diabetes?

Diabetes in South Africa is more of a problem than TB, HIV and malaria combined. But one in two people with diabetes in South Africa don’t even know they have the condition.

Preventing diabetes

While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by making certain lifestyle changes.

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Ask the Expert

Diabetes expert

Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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