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Type 1 and type 2 diabetes and diabetic foot

Diabetes is a chronic condition that causes glucose in your blood to become too high. It can also cause foot problems.

Health Fact vs Fiction Diabetes explained | Podcast

Listen now to episode 13 'Diabetes Explained' of the Health Fact vs Fiction podcast from HCA Healthcare UK. In this episode Anna Richardson talks to Dr Alex Miras, Consultant Endocrinologist, about diabetes and the personal measures we can take to prevent, manage and even reverse it through metabolic surgery.


Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition. There are two main types of diabetes as well as some rarer ones. They all cause the level of glucose (sugar) in people’s blood to become too high. With type one diabetes, insulin-producing cells are attacked by the immune system and with type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced by the body.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of diabetes icon plus

    The hormone insulin is made by the pancreas and controls your blood sugar levels by shifting glucose from the blood into our cells. Here, it’s broken down to give us energy. If you have diabetes, this process doesn’t work and the body can’t convert glucose into energy.

    The main symptoms associated with diabetes are:

    • feeling very thirsty
    • urinating more than usual, especially at night
    • extreme tiredness
    • losing weight
    • itching around the genitals, or infections like thrush
    • slow healing cuts

    If you experience a range of these symptoms it’s important to see a consultant as soon as possible, as type 1 diabetes can develop quickly.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Diagnosing both types of diabetes usually involves:
    • blood tests to check blood sugar levels
    • urine tests

    Over time, high glucose levels in your blood can lead to complications in your kidneys, heart, eyes and feet. People with diabetes are at much greater risk of foot disease and foot ulcers. This is because diabetes can cause nerve damage known as diabetic neuropathy.

    Signs of foot problems in diabetes include:

    • swollen feet
    • numbness or tingling sensations
    • loss of feeling
    • sores that don’t heal

    Your consultant will look for these signs and develop a personalised care plan if they detect any foot problems developing.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Type 1 diabetes

    If you have type 1 diabetes you need to take insulin by injecting with an insulin pen or using an insulin pump. Other treatment includes incretin memetics (medication that helps the body to produce insulin when it’s needed).

    Type 2 diabetes

    If you have type 2 diabetes you may need to take insulin or medication such as metformin. This is the first line drug in the management of the condition. Diet and exercise can also be instrumental in keeping blood sugar levels under control.

    More recently metabolic surgery, which changes the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract, has been proven to be a powerful treatment for type 2 diabetes. This is a NICE approved surgical option (using bariatric procedures) for individuals with Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Performed laparoscopically, (keyhole surgery), the procedure alters metabolic function to improve glycaemic control, and 50% of patients become diabetes-free. The benefits include a reduction in medication usage, a lowering of cardiovascular disease risk, greater weight loss and ultimately a better quality of life. For more information visit London Bridge Hospital’s Metabolic and Bariatric Centre. 

    Diabetic foot

    Treatment for diabetic foot disease may include:

    • offloading (a plaster cast is used to take the pressure off and help with healing)
    • clearing away any dead, damaged and infected skin (debridement)
    • vascular surgery to ensure the foot has adequate blood supply
    • In severe cases, orthopaedic surgery to reconstruct ‘diabetic foot’ is now effective and at preventing the need for amputation

Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

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    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 0207 908 8001
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • The Wellington Hospital

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street


    SE1 2PR

    Appointments & Enquiries 0207 234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 0207 234 2773

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road


    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000

  • The Portland Hospital

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street


    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

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    London Digestive Centre

    41 Welbeck Street


    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 7908 8001
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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