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What is Diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes (also called Diabetes Mellitus) is a disease in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. This happens when insulin is not working right and your body is not able to use the sugar you eat for energy. Insulin helps sugar get into the cells so it can be used for energy. So you can think of diabetes as an “insulin problem” and not a “sugar problem.“  

With diabetes, the pancreas, an organ near the stomach, may not make any or not enough insulin. Sometimes, the body does not respond to the insulin it does make. So, the glucose remains in the bloodstream.  This causes the blood sugar levels to rise too high.

Over time as sugar builds up in the blood, if left untreated, it can cause very serious complications, including heart and vascular disease, and kidney, eye and nerve damage.

There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1:

Type 1 (also called juvenile diabetes) usually occurs in children, teenagers and young adults, but it can also occur in older adults. In type 1 diabetes the body does not make enough or any insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily for life to control their blood sugar levels.

Type 2:

Type 2 diabetes often occurs in adults over 45, but a growing number of children and teens now have type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin, but it may not make enough. Sometimes the body does not respond to insulin as it should and this is called insulin resistance.

What are the common signs of Diabetes?

It is important to be aware of the signs of diabetes, because early prevention, education and treatment are the best way to reduce the risks of the serious complications of diabetes.

The common signs of diabetes are:

  • Feeling tired                       
  • Urinating often
  • Being very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Having an infection that does not go away                
  • Wounds or sores that don't heal well
  • Possible weight loss
  • Having blurry vision