Diabetes (Type 2)

Type 2 diabetes occurs mainly in individuals over the age of 40 and develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work correctly (known as insulin resistance).

Insulin is a hormone. It works as a chemical messenger that helps your body use the glucose in your blood to give you energy. In type 2 diabetes there is not enough insulin (or the insulin isn't working properly), so the cells are only partially unlocked resulting in glucose build up in the blood.

Diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) resulting from the body's inability to use the sugar from food eaten for energy. It is a systematic disease that can affect the body on both an immediate and a long term basis. When blood sugar levels are persistently high, a wide range of chronic complications can occur. These include kidney disease, vision loss, heart disease, stroke and neuropathy, among others. Many of these long-term complications can be barriers and hinder and individuals performance in activities of daily living which are necessary to successful self-manage diabetes.

Diabetes impacts on an individual's personal, environmental, social, spiritual and physical well-being. In order to promote successful prevention and management, adaptations to daily routines and lifestyle may include the following:

  • Promote healthy food choices and safe cooking methods
  • Instruct in safe and appropriate way to incorporate exercise and physical activity into daily routines.
  • Provide techniques to organise and track medications
  • Educate in techniques to structure time and simplify activities to cope with depression such as breaking down activities, dietary changes and an exercise programme into manageable steps and incorporating them into present daily routine.
  • Incorporate protective techniques and compensate for peripheral sensory loss in activities that involve exposure to heat, cold, and sharp objects.
  • Instruct on the safe use of adaptive equipment in circumstances where an individual has had a limb amputation.

Our Occupational Therapists can fill diverse roles in the management of diabetes.

Problems associated with Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops when an individual's body can't produce enough insulin and if left untreated can cause very serious health problems. These include coeliac disease, thyroid disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes insipidus, necrobiosis lipoidicadiabeticorum, mastopathy, muscular conditions and dental health complications and limb amputations. As a result of this an individual's abilities to complete the following activities of daily living, is hindered:

  • Washing and dressing
  • Mobilising inside and outside the home
  • Driving
  • Work activities
  • Sleeping
  • Leisure and social activities
  • Household duties- cooking and cleaning

Our Occupational Therapists are experts at analysing the performance skills and patterns necessary for individuals to engage in their everyday activities. They can effectively educate and train individuals on how best to modify their current habits and routines and develop new ones to promote a healthier lifestyle and minimise effects of the disease progression.

Our Occupational Therapists are knowledgeable about the impact medical conditions can have on an individual's day to day and long term functioning. Through a holistic approach our Occupational Therapists can address the physical, cognitive, psychological, and sensory aspects essential in the performance of everyday activities.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

Diabetes type 2 impacts heavily on an individual's abilities to complete day living activities. It not only affects an individual's ability to function independently but can also have a great impact on their mood levels. A brief summary below indicates how diabetes can affects the different aspects of an individual's life:


  • Difficulties preparing meals
  • Difficulties mobilising
  • Difficulties completing household duties- cleaning, ironing.
  • Difficulties getting up and down stairs


  • Stigma
  • Completing social activities
  • Participating in leisure activities
  • Feelings of depression and stress

Type 2 diabetes can impact heavily upon an individual's abilities to participate in everyday social interactions. For example, individuals will often turn down invitations to meet with friends or attend social gatherings due to being unable to fully participate because of their condition. Special dietary requirements can also make it extremely difficult for individuals with diabetes to socialise, as often this is done over lunch, and individuals can feel embarrassed or awkward in such situations. Our Occupational Therapists can reduce the impact type 2 diabetes has on an individual's social life and provide effective management techniques, in order to allow individuals to participate in social interactions more effectively.

What exactly is Diabetes?

Diabetes is potentially a life-threatening condition that renders the body unable to control blood sugar levels and also increases the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

Type 2 diabetes develops when an individual's body can no longer properly process blood sugar (glucose) out of their blood. Normally, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that helps cells turn blood sugar into fuel. If however, the pancreas does not make enough insulin or if the cells can't use insulin correctly, blood sugar levels rise. As a result the tissues within the body cannot use insulin to process the blood sugar, and this is known as insulin resistance. Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar can lead to tissue damagewithin the body, resulting in other major complications.

It is estimated that more than one in 17 people in the UK has diabetes both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Currently the number of those diagnosed is around 3.2 million in the UK, this is estimated to rise to five million by year of 2025.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for diabetes

Our Occupational Therapists utilise standardised assessments to ascertain all the relevant information required to devise a tailored treatment plan for each individual. Below is a list of some of the most common assessments used with individuals with diabetes:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Workplace assessment

In order to ensure our assessments are both pure and accurate our Occupational Therapists will also conduct a number of non-standardised assessments. This allows our Occupational Therapists to observe the individual completing the task, but also interview them and take non-verbal communication aspects such as posture, facial expression and much more into account.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments are aimed at promoting individual's health and well-being through the use of everyday activities. Our highly experiencedtherapists can provide both practical and physiological support to facilitate change. Treatments for individuals with diabetes aim to increase an individual's life satisfaction and increase their:

  • Functional independence
  • Social interaction
  • Health and well-being
  • Condition management
  • Mood levels

Because Our Occupational Therapy treatments are concerned with improving individual's performance in activities of daily living toward the goal of independence, as well as improving quality of life, individuals with diabetes type 2 would benefit greatly from our Occupational Therapy interventions.


Our Occupational Therapy focuses on lifestyle modification, health promotion, remediation of physical and visual impairments, and maximising self-care independence, all of which are directly and adversely affected by diabetes and its complications. Our Occupational Therapists will focus on helping individuals take charge of their diabetes as opposed to being controlled by it, so they can participate in everyday activities.

How to arrange to see an occupational therapist?

OurOccupational Therapyintervention have proven to be extremely beneficial to those individuals with diabetes type 2. All enquires are welcome please email usat office@londonot.co.uk or Call us on 02033 937 332.



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

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