Illnesses and long-term conditions


Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin.

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself.

The Scottish Diabetes Survey 2017, reported  298,504 people diagnosed with diabetes in Scotland at the end of 2017.

In the survey, 88.2% (263,271) were recorded as having type 2 diabetes and 10.5% (31,447) type 1 diabetes.

We are committed to ensuring that people living with diabetes have access to the best possible care.

Our Diabetes Improvement Plan (2014) set out the priorities and actions to deliver improved prevention, treatment and care for people affected by diabetes. The implementation of the Diabetes Improvement Plan is led by the Scottish Diabetes Group, whose members are clinicians, third sector, patients, and policy leads.

There is no known cause for type 1 diabetes, however, excess weight is the main modifiable risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

In 2017 we committed to invest £42 million over five years (from 2018/2019) to give people with, or at risk of type 2, diabetes support and better access to effective weight management services.

In July 2018 we published a Healthier Future – a framework detailing action for the prevention, early detection and early intervention of type 2 diabetesThe framework provides national guidance to NHS Boards on the provision of evidence-based weight management interventions. This includes very low calorie diets and total diet replacement programmes with staged food re-introduction. 

More information

More information about identifying, treating and managing diabetes is available from the NHSinform website. 

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