Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.
Without insulin the body cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood. Over a period of time, high blood sugar can damage the cells in the body leading to problems such as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, nerve damage and leg amputations.