Diabetes "Basics" Diabetes means that your blood glucose (often
called blood sugar) is too high. Your blood always has some
glucose in it because your body needs glucose for energy to keep
you going. But too much glucose in the blood isn't good for your
Glucose comes from the food you eat and is also made in
your liver and muscles. Your blood carries the glucose to all
the cells in your body. Insulin is a chemical (a hormone) made
in a part of the body called the pancreas. The pancreas releases
insulin into the blood. Insulin helps the glucose from food get
into your cells. If your body doesn't make enough insulin or if
the insulin doesn't work the way it should, glucose can't get
into your cells. It stays in your blood instead. Your blood
glucose level then gets too high, causing you to have diabetes.
The signs of diabetes are:
being very thirsty
feeling very hungry or tired
losing weight without trying
having sores that heal slowly
having dry, itchy skin
losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet
having blurry eyesight
You may have had one or more of these signs before you found out
you had diabetes. Or you may have had no signs at all.
can get diabetes at any age. There are three main kinds.
diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent
diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or
young adults. In this form of diabetes, the beta cells of the
pancreas no longer make insulin because the body's immune system
has attacked and destroyed them. Treatment for type 1 diabetes
includes taking insulin shots or using an insulin pump, making
wise food choices, exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily,
and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
Type 2 diabetes,
formerly called adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent
diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. People can
develop type 2 diabetes at any age -- even during childhood. In
type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin, and
the fat, muscle, or liver cells do not use it properly. [See
"What Is Insulin Resistance," below.] Being overweight can
increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Treatment
includes using diabetes medicines, making wise food choices,
exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily, and controlling
blood pressure and cholesterol. For a complete list of type 2
Some women develop
gestational diabetes during the late stages of pregnancy.
Although this form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby
is born, a woman who has had it is more likely to develop type 2
diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes is caused by the
hormones of pregnancy or a shortage of insulin.
Resistance and What It Means When You Have Type 2 Diabetes
development in the treatment of diabetes has been a growing
understanding of one of its major underlying causes -- insulin
resistance. This development has resulted in medical treatment
options that were not available even a few years ago.
Insulin Resistance? Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease
characterized by high sugar levels and the body's inability to
use and/or produce insulin. Sometimes the pancreas does not
produce enough insulin. Other times, the cells throughout the
body become resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas,
and it is much more difficult for the sugar to enter the cells.
This is known as insulin resistance. To see how insulin
resistance works in the body,
click here. Many type 2 diabetes
medicines primarily work by increasing insulin production in the
pancreas, or by decreasing glucose output through the liver.
Learn more information about insulin resistance.
Diabetes Pg 1 | 2 |
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Diabetes Treatment Options