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What is Diabetes?
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What is Diabetes?
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.

Major Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes
Results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes
Results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes
Immediately after pregnancy, 5% to 10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to have diabetes, usually, type 2.

Pre-diabetes
Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are 57 million Americans who have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 23.6 million with diabetes.