Diabetes: What is it?

When your blood glucose, commonly known as blood sugar, is too high, you get diabetes. Your body uses glucose as its primary energy source. Although glucose may also be produced by the body, it also comes from food.

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The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin, which facilitates the uptake of glucose by your cells for use as fuel. When you have diabetes, your body either produces insufficient amounts of insulin or doesn’t use it correctly. After that, glucose remains in your circulation and does not enter your cells.

Diabetes increases the risk of kidney, nerve, heart, and eye damage. There is a connection between diabetes and some cancers. Your chance of getting diabetes-related health issues may be reduced if you take action to avoid or manage your diabetes.

What kinds of diabetes are there?

Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes are the three most prevalent forms of the disease.

Diabetes type 1

You have little to no insulin produced by your body if you have type 1 diabetes. Your immune system targets and kills the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Although it can manifest at any age, type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children and young people. Insulin must be taken daily by people with type 1 diabetes in order to survive.

Diabetes type 2

Your body’s cells don’t utilize insulin correctly if you have type 2 diabetes. Although the pancreas may be producing insulin, it is not producing enough of it to maintain a normal blood glucose level. Diabetes type 2 is the most prevalent kind of the disease. If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes and risk factors including being overweight or obese, your chances of developing the condition increase. Type 2 diabetes can strike at any age, even in infancy.

Understanding the risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices, such not gaining weight or decreasing it, can help postpone or avoid type 2 diabetes.

Pregnancy-related diabetes

One kind of diabetes that appears during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. After the baby is born, this kind of diabetes usually disappears. On the other hand, your risk of type 2 diabetes in later life is increased if you had gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can occasionally be identified as diabetes during pregnancy.


Blood glucose levels are greater in prediabetes patients than in normal people, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. You are more likely to get type 2 diabetes in the future if you have prediabetes. In addition, compared to persons with normal glucose levels, you are at a higher risk for heart disease.

A different kind of diabetes

One gene mutation is the source of monogenic diabetes, a less prevalent form of the disease. Diabetes may also result after pancreatic surgery, pancreatitis, or other illnesses that harm the pancreas. Cystic fibrosis is one such disorder.

How widespread are prediabetes and diabetes?

The number of Americans with diabetes or prediabetes exceeds 133 million.1.

37.3 million Americans, or 11.3% of the total population, has diabetes as of 2019.1. Among those over 65, diabetes affected more than one in four of them. Almost one in four persons with diabetes were unaware that they had the condition.2.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90–95% of instances of the disease.3.

38% of adult Americans, or 96 million people, had prediabetes in 2019.4

What further health issues might diabetics experience?

Elevated blood glucose levels over time can harm your kidneys, feet, eyes, and heart. If you already have diabetes, you can reduce your risk of acquiring diabetes-related health issues by managing your condition and making healthy lifestyle choices. Controlling your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar will help avert more health issues.