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What is Diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which you have too much sugar in your blood (hyperglycemia). It is a lifelong disease that can lead to serious health problems. With proper care of your disease you can greatly reduce the risk of these health problems which include damage to your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves and eyes.

Normally, insulin moves sugars from food into the cells. The cells use the sugars for energy. The lack of insulin or the lack of normal response to insulin causes excess sugars to build up in the blood. The cells are unable to use the sugar for energy.

You may be able to control your blood sugar with diet and exercise. As diabetes progresses, some people may need to add pills to control their sugar, and some people may need to use insulin shots.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in kids and young adults, and used to be called juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy.

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that the body needs to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin shots and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives. 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is often linked to being overweight and less active. The amount of insulin produced by your pancreas has already decreased by 80% at the time you are diagnosed. Your body still makes some insulin, but your cells have become resistant to insulin (insulin resistance).

In a medical emergency, call 911.