What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels
are above normal. People with diabetes have problems converting
food to energy. After a meal, food is broken down into a sugar
called glucose, which is carried by the blood to cells throughout
the body. Cells use the hormone insulin, made in the pancreas,
to help them process blood glucose into energy.
There are two types of diabetes,
Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes (also called juvenile diabetes or insulin
dependent diabetes) develops when the body's immune system attacks
the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. The pancreas then
cannot make insulin (or makes very tiny amounts). The reason
that the immune system does this is not fully understood yet.
Type 1 diabetes is not caused by being overweight or eating
too much sugar.
People develop type 2 diabetes because the cells in the muscles,
liver, and fat do not use insulin properly. Eventually, the
pancreas cannot make enough insulin for the body's needs. As
a result, the amount of glucose in the blood increases while
the cells are starved of energy.
- Afflicts 16 million people
- 800,000 new cases a year
- One-third of cases are undiagnosed
- Sixth leading cause of death from disease
- Highest incidence in minorities
- Main cause of new blindness, kidney failure, and amputations
- Major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and birth
- Leads to higher death rates from pneumonia, influenza,
and other illnesses
- Shorten average lifespan by up to 15 years
- Costs more than $105 billion annually, including direct
and indirect costs (i.e. disability, work loss, and premature
These publications will provide you with some
more introductory information about Diabetes. Remember to consult
with your doctor with any questions.
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