Patient Information


What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolises sugar (glucose) — an important source of fuel for your body. With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of glucose into your cells — or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels6

What causes Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the insulin produced by the body does not work effectively (insulin resistance) or cannot produce enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels within the normal range.1,2


How common is Diabetes?

In Ireland, almost a quarter of a million people have diabetes. Of these individuals, over 85% have type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that nearly 280,000 people will have diabetes in Ireland by the year 2030. Current figures show that more than 850,000 people in Ireland over the age of 40 are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes3 


Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors2,4

Some factors that may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Being overweight
  • Physical inactivity or not doing enough exercise
  • With increasing age, the body may not produce insulin as efficiently as before
  • A family history of diabetes – you are two to six times more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, sibling or child with diabetes5 
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol levels
  • Having had gestational diabetes in pregnancy or a baby weighing more than 10 pounds
  • Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
  • Steroid therapy


What are the symptoms of Diabetes?2,4

Some of the main symptoms of having high blood glucose levels due to diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst or dry mouth
  • Needing to pass urine more frequently (can occur during the day and night)
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Having frequent infections
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Genital irritation or thrush
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Numbness, pain or tingling in hands or feet (which can be worse at night)

If you have diabetes and still experience the signs and symptoms above, you should contact your GP.


Managing your Diabetes

Self-management is a key part of looking after type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet, physical activity or exercise and medications (if prescribed) can keep your blood glucose levels in a healthy range. Maintaining good control of blood glucose levels can prevent the development of long-term diabetes complications.6



Source for all above content is Diabetes Ireland’s Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes booklet, unless otherwise stated.

Diabetes Ireland is the only national charity in Ireland dedicated to helping people with diabetes. They provide support, education and motivation to everyone affected by diabetes.

Diabetes Ireland also raises public awareness of diabetes and its symptoms and funds research into finding a cure.

This online course enables you to recognise diabetes and teaches you how you can manage it by daily action. It’s a simple way to learn more about diabetes to protect your future health.