What is diabetes?

Diabetes results when you body can't use or make enough insulin, so the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood becomes higher than usual. It is important to control your blood sugar levels because it will reduce your risk of complications from diabetes. This can cause damage to your organs, such as the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerve endings. People wiith diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people without diabetes.

Risk factors

Things we can change:
  • Being overweight
  • Doing very little physical activity
  • Often eating high fat foods
Things we can't change:
  • Having a family member with diabetes
  • Being of Maori, Pacific Island, Asian, Indian or Middle Eastern descent
  • Having had a baby weighing 9lb(4kg) or high blood glucose during pregnancy

Reduce your risk

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight range
  • Do moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most days
  • Stop smoking


Early diagnosis and careful management can prevent the serious complications of diabetes.