There are a number of treatments available to help you treat your diabetes, from insulin pumps to tablets and medication. Here we share stories about the different ways in which people have learnt to manage their condition, to help you understand what options you have.

Sarah Parsons

Weight loss surgery

I had gastric bypass surgery in 2014. My starting weight was 190kg, which dropped to 114kg post-op, within seven months. As a result of this weight loss, I went into remission from type 2 diabetes for just over two years. 

But I experienced several complications following the operation, including gastrointestinal disorders, bowel problems and a diagnosis of pancreatitis, which I think may have developed in part due to my history of disordered eating.  

All in all, the journey was quite horrific. And I spoke about my experiences of bariatric surgery at the 2023 Diabetes UK Professional Conference (DUKPC) to share how the process was for me, and the problems I experienced.  

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Kayleigh Steel


I’ve mostly self-managed living with type 2 diabetes. I was told I would not be given a free blood glucose monitor and NHS prescription for test strips, so bought one. However, I can’t afford to use strips that often, so I ran out quickly in the early days of using it.  

I’m on the smallest dose of metformin, I’ve tried different types of antidepressants and have tried different types of therapy, including CBT and talking therapies.  

After all of this self-management and through the information I had gathered from the Diabetes UK website, I decided to ask my healthcare team for help to attempt the Newcastle Diet but it wasn’t offered in my area and I wasn’t given access to a dietitian for support. I tried the diet on my own and it worked for a couple of months until my mental health once again took a downwards turn and I continued with my previous unhealthy eating habits.  

Eventually, at my annual diabetes check up in January this year, I had a breakdown about my weight and my struggles with binge eating. I was referred to a social prescriber, who offered me vouchers to Slimming World, which although helps with the weight loss doesn’t help with my bad relationship with food. I also discussed another course of CBT therapy but with working full-time, studying for a masters, planning a wedding and just generally living, the local mental health team didn’t feel like I had the time to commit to therapy at this stage.  

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Sam Dottin


In January, I was put on new medication: Victoza injections, and metformin. Since then my weight has dropped, and my blood sugar levels have improved. 

But I still didn’t understand what makes my blood sugar go low or high; each day can be completely different to the next. For several months I have been trying to understand it more, as someone who is now engaged with their management.  

Earlier this year I requested with my healthcare team to use a blood glucose monitor and finger pricking to check my blood sugar levels. But the readings weren’t really making any sense to me, and I realised I needed a device to monitor my levels 24/7. So I requested the use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) with my nurse.  

The nurse told me that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines say that I’m not entitled to a CGM, but I persisted and she took my query to a GP partner to see if they would grant me access.  

I know that tech is not generally for people in my situation, but I am trying to understand my diabetes and have had to push quite hard. 

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Georgia Weston

Diabetes research

I am currently working on a three-month project in which I will be creating a 3D scaffold of the brain architecture to simulate conditions following a bleed in the brain. I will then try to determine which blood components cause the arteries to contract and worsen the condition. The hope is that this research will provide vital information which can be used to improve the treatment of brain bleeds in the future. 

Once I have finished my engineering masters and completed my medical degree, I hope to maintain both academic and clinical pursuits, working as an endocrinologist whilst being heavily involved in research. I appreciate that the care I receive for my diabetes today is due to millions of hours of research by dedicated scientists, and I would love to pay that forward and be a part of new advances in treatment too. 

Medicine is evolving more rapidly than ever, and I cannot wait to see what the management of diabetes looks like in the future! 

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Georgia Weston

Battling hypo unawareness

I use multiple daily injections and a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to manage my diabetes. I have looked into the possibility of using an insulin pump, but I am not eligible for this technology on the NHS currently and am unable to afford it myself.  

I love the Dexcom CGM because it can connect with my mum and best friend’s phones, which is particularly helpful as I do not have great hypo awareness. My hypo unawareness was a key reason behind a product I developed during my current master's degree. I had been using the FreeStyle Libre sensors, but the sensors kept failing or I found them inaccurate.  

During the times I had hypos, I sometimes needed other people to help me to treat it. It was then that I considered the idea of a wearable glucose monitor encompassing a dose of glucagon (medication to increase blood sugars). My idea was that this device could keep glucagon inside for two months, and it would auto-inject after fifteen minutes of a severe low blood sugar being detected. I was able to successfully design the product and reached the finals of a global innovation competition called YES22, where our team won the award for ‘Best Engineering’.  

The idea was never put into production due to my educational commitments currently, but I am proud of it and would love to continue the project following my graduation.  

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