In a healthy body, insulin is a hormone which is produced by the β -cells in the pancreas gland. The function of insulin is to help regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels. Insulin is responsible for the transport of glucose from the blood into the cells of the body where the glucose can be converted to energy.


Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects many different organs and systems in the body, including the cardiovascular system, the kidneys, the nervous system and the eyes. Diabetes occurs when there are elevated levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia), due to insufficient insulin production by the pancreas, and/or insufficient use of insulin.  

Diagnostic criteria had been debated and updated over decades; the current criteria from the World Health Organisation (WHO) states diabetes should be diagnosed if one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • Fasting plasma glucose ≥ 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL)
  • Two-hour plasma glucose ≥ 11.1 mmol/L (200mg/dL) following a 75g oral glucose load
  • A random glucose >11.1 mmol/L (200mg/dL) or HbA1c ≥ 48 mmol/mol (equivalent to 6.5%)

According to the International Diabetes Federation 425 million people have diabetes. There are three main types of Diabetes, Type-1 Diabetes (T1D), Type-2 Diabetes (T2D), and Gestational Diabetes. T1D accounts for between 5-10% of all diabetes, T2D accounts for approximately 90% of diabetes cases, and 1 in 7 births are affected by gestational diabetes.

* There are less common types of diabetes which include monogenic diabetes, and secondary diabetes due to hormone disturbances such as Cushing’s disease.