What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which your body cannot utilize the glucose (blood sugar) correctly. It is characterized by high blood sugars known as hyperglycemia. This is due to no insulin being produced or you are unable to effectively use the insulin your body is producing. Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin helps "open the door" to get glucose into the cells for much needed energy.

The glucose in the blood comes primarily from carbohydrate foods in the diet. Another contributor would be stored glucose from the liver which is released into the blood stream. 

Diabetes needs to be treated to avoid long-term complications as it can lead to blood vessel damage. Diabetes can be well controlled and complications prevented or delayed. One of the best tools to accomplish this is education. The more you know about diabetes the more effectively you can control it.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1

With Type 1 Diabetes your body has stopped making insulin which normally helps glucose or blood sugar get in your cells for energy.  Without insulin your glucose or blood sugars can go high.

Type 1 Diabetes is the least common occurring in only 5-10% and is related to an autoimmune disorder in which beta cells of the pancreas which produce insulin are destroyed according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) (p. S63). Generally the individual is young and thin and is characterized by someone who produces little or no insulin. This type of diabetes used to be called Juvenile Onset Diabetes.

Type 2

With Type 2 Diabetes, your body is not making enough insulin or it is making enough but the receptor sites on the cell are not working right so glucose is not getting into the cell for energy.  Blood sugars can rise.

Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and in some cases insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes is the most common occurring in about 90-95% according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) (p. S63). They are generally adults who are overweight but there are a larger number of young children exhibiting this type. It is not uncommon for this to run in families which may be related to genetics as well as lifestyle behaviors. Certain ethnic groups are at higher risk than others. 

Gestational Diabetes

The word gestation refers to pregnancy so it is a diabetes that occurs during pregnancy usually in the last trimester when insulin needs double to triple the normal needs of insulin. These women have a greater predisposition to getting Type 2 Diabetes later in life. Gestational Diabetes should not be confused with Diabetes in Pregnancy in which the mother had diabetes before becoming pregnant. 


Prevention is the key when blood sugars start to creep up on a blood test. Generally losing weight and engaging in physical activity approved by your doctor will delay the development of type 2 diabetes.

Impaired Fasting Glucose or Impaired Glucose Intolerance previously known as (Pre-Diabetes) - Increased risk for diabetes is determined by one's glucose level.

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose 100 to 125 mg/ dl
  • 2 hr Plasma Glucose 140 to 199 mg/dl.
  • Impaired glucose tolerance AIC 5.7-6.4% (S66)

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