What is diabetes?

About Diabetes Symptoms and Treatment

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. Read more about Diabetes Symptoms and Treatment.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. Blood sugar is your main source of energy and comes from the foods you eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough insulin – or not at all – or doesn’t use insulin well. The glucose then stays in your blood and does not reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes does not cure, there are things you can do to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes”. These terms suggest that someone does not really have diabetes or has a less severe case, but each case of diabetes is serious.

What are the different types of diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes most often occurs in middle-aged and elderly people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in some pregnant women. Most of the time, this type of diabetes disappears after the baby is born. However, if you have had gestational diabetes, you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

How common is diabetes?

In 2015, 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4% of the population, suffered from diabetes. More than one in four did not know they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90 to 95% of cases in adults have type 2 diabetes

Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are 45 years of age or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health conditions such as high blood pressure also affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or diabetes gestational when you were pregnant. Learn more about the risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

What health problems can people with diabetes develop?

Over time, high blood sugar causes problems such as

  • cardiac disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems

Diabetes can strike anyone, regardless of their living environment. And it is – in numbers that are increasing dramatically. Today, more than 30 million children and adults in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes. Worldwide, more than 422 million people suffer from diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious condition that results in higher than normal blood sugar. Diabetes occurs when your body cannot make or effectively use its own insulin, a hormone produced by special cells in the pancreas called islets (carnations). Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow glucose to enter – and allows you to use glucose for energy.

Without insulin, there is no “key”. Thus, sugar accumulates in the blood. As a result, the body’s cells starve due to a lack of glucose. And, the high level of “blood sugar” can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. Very high blood sugar can also lead to coma and death.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease, but there are also other types, such as gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, as well as other forms.

Diabetes Symptoms and Treatment

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