Diabetes: start your consultation
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Diabetes affects an estimated 4 million people in the UK alone. Three-quarters of those diagnosed will have type 2 diabetes, and as many as one million are believed to be undiagnosed sufferers. Fortunately, diabetes can be managed and controlled with lifestyle changes and prescription medication.
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and would like to order your medication safely online, you can do so with HealthExpress. Select the treatment you have been prescribed, or read more about alternatives, below.
(At the moment, we don't offer treatment for type 1 diabetes)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by an individual's blood sugar levels remaining too high for a prolonged period of time. High blood sugar causes various symptoms that impact quality of life and can cause serious and life-threatening complications.
The condition is categorised into three main types being; type 1, type 2 and gestational.
Currently, HealthExpress only offers treatment for type 2 diabetes. If you need treatment for other forms, please speak to your regular doctor.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is normally diagnosed in childhood. It is the result of the body being unable to produce any of the hormone insulin. Insulin is made in the beta cells of the pancreas before being released into your bloodstream. It travels around your body, helping cells to absorb glucose from your blood.
As you can imagine, without this hormone, glucose levels in your blood stay raised. If left untreated, this can cause serious complications like atherosclerosis, stroke, heart problems, eye, foot and kidney diseases.
While there isn't a cure for type 1 diabetes, it can be effectively managed throughout life, significantly decreasing the likelihood of any serious health risks occurring. You will require regular insulin shots that can be administered across the body. You will also need to follow a controlled diet to manage blood sugar levels.
In contrast, type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells in your body cannot respond correctly to insulin or if your pancreas is not producing enough insulin. Type-2 diabetes is far more common than type 1, affecting around 90% of diabetes sufferers.
Depending on its severity, type 2 diabetes is controllable with a healthy diet, exercise regime and regular blood sugar tests. However, in more advanced cases, medication is required. Your doctor will assess your condition and prescribe medication if needed. Type-2 diabetes can (though not always) be reversed with treatment and lifestyle changes.
The progression of type 2 diabetes is directly linked to obesity, along with other conditions.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It is, by its nature, temporary, only lasting throughout pregnancy. However, in some cases, it may remain; it is then referred to as type 2 diabetes.
When you are pregnant, your body goes through many hormonal changes. Hormonal spikes can cause you to struggle to produce enough insulin or increase glucose levels beyond what your body can handle.
If you have gestational diabetes, you may need additional monitoring, and it is recommended that you give birth in hospital.
There is no single cause for type 2 diabetes. Instead, there are a variety of factors that contribute to the development of the condition. These include:
In most cases, a doctor will advise that you make dietary changes and exercise regularly - lifestyle changes alone are sufficient to control the condition for some individuals.
It is always healthy to exercise and watch what you eat. It is beneficial to adopt these habits even if you do not have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
*If you are not overweight, it is less likely you will develop type 2 diabetes, however, it is still possible. It is referred to as “lean diabetes” in those with a healthy body mass index (BMI).
As diabetes is characterised by your body’s inability to utilise glucose, the most common symptom is fatigue. Essentially, your cells do not have enough fuel to function correctly.
Other than this, you can expect to experience some, or all, of the following:
All of the above apply to both men and women. Certain symptoms, such as increased thirst and fatigue, can occur early on. Other symptoms, like vision problems and diabetic foot, occur when the condition has progressed without treatment and can indicate serious circulatory complications.
Some of the symptoms above are connected. For example, when the body has excess glucose, it deals with this in the kidneys by flushing it out in urine. With an increase in urination, you become quickly dehydrated, in turn making you thirsty. More glucose passing through your urinary tract also creates the perfect environment for bacteria, leading to thrush and genital itching.
Similarly, chronic diabetes can cause poor circulation and blood flow. Due to this, your body cannot properly supply extremities such as your feet and cannot provide the blood needed to fight infections.
When your cells cannot get enough sustenance from glucose, your body may begin to burn fat and muscle in its place. The result is weight loss, increased hunger and irritability.
Generally speaking, there is little symptomatic difference between these two forms of diabetes. However, the speed at which symptoms develop, and their seriousness, will differ.
With type 1 diabetes, you can expect a sudden onset of symptoms in childhood. It may only be a couple of weeks before you experience all of the symptoms listed above.
Comparatively, type 2 diabetes takes longer to present. It may be years before you experience the more severe symptoms listed. You have periods of fatigue and thirst that seem innocent and unconnected to an underlying condition. For that reason, it is important that you get your blood sugar levels tested if you fall into any of the high risk groups. Specifically, if you are overweight, older, or have a family history of the condition.
Leaving any condition untreated can result in more serious health problems developing. You should always take health concerns seriously, even if you find symptoms have little impact on daily life.
The high blood sugar levels that come with uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels, nerves and organs.
The following are some of the complications associated with type 2 diabetes:
Though type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, it is possible to reverse the condition with the right treatment.
It is a good idea to:
Remember - always follow the advice of your doctor, both regarding the use of medicines and lifestyle factors.
Before using prescription medication, you should make lifestyle changes to try and get your diabetes under control. The exception to this is where your diabetes is discovered after it has progressed, in which case, a doctor will prescribe medication alongside lifestyle changes.
When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will have to closely monitor your health for the rest of your life. If you are overweight, this primarily includes dieting, losing a sufficient amount of weight, and increasing your level of physical activity. This can help to keep your blood sugar level at a safer and healthier level. If you have a healthy BMI, you should work to maintain your weight and still ensure you eat well and exercise frequently.
However, for many people with type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes will not be enough to help control the condition in the long-term. In these cases, medication will be required, usually in the form of tablets.
Insulin injections are prescribed for type 1 diabetes. As your body is unable to produce any insulin naturally, you will need to take it artificially. Insulin is administered in a syringe or “pen”.
Your doctor will show you how to correctly use a pen and tell you how often to administer injections. It is a good idea to rotate injection sites so as to prevent certain side effects.
Currently, HealthExpress does not offer insulin. You should contact your regular doctor if you need this treatment.
A group of medications called biguanides, such as metformin, are commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes. Other medications include sulphonylureas, glitazones, prandial glucose regulators, DPP-4 inhibitors and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Varieties of these are available to buy at HealthExpress.
If you are not suitable for these medications or you have found little success with oral tablets, there are also non-insulin injections available to help control blood sugar levels. These are known as GLP-1 (glucagon-like-peptide-1) receptor agonists and they come in the format of pre-filled pens, similar to insulin pens.
Managing type 2 diabetes is essential to prevent long-term damage to your health. Diabetes can be effectively managed by using one of our available treatments, which are all approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and are clinically proven to effectively treat type 2 diabetes.
Other tablets currently available include:
We also offer an injection treatment known as Ozempic which you inject into yourself once weekly.
You can order any of these treatments quickly and safely online by completing our free, quick, and simple online consultation. This consultation is reviewed by one of our registered doctors to see whether you're suitable for treatment. Once they have reviewed your details, your medication will be dispensed and dispatched with free, next-day delivery.