What is diabetes?
The cells in our bodies run on sugar, also known as glucose. For glucose to get into our cells, it needs help from a hormone called insulin. If there is no insulin or not enough insulin in your body, glucose can’t get into the cells. It stays in the bloodstream and the levels of glucose build up. This is what diabetes is-high levels of glucose in the blood. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational.
- With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. Without insulin, glucose levels in the blood become too high.
- With type 2 diabetes-the more common type-the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body does not use the insulin properly.
- Pregnant women can also get a type of diabetes called gestational diabetes that usually goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing diabetes later on in life. (3)
How does diabetes affect my body?
Diabetes complications are caused by damage to the blood vessels, nerves, or both. Left untreated, high blood glucose can damage your eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease and stroke, and can
increase the chances of losing a limb. (4)
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider can determine if you have diabetes by doing a simple blood test to measure the amount of glucose in your blood. Sometimes, you will be asked to drink a special glucose drink and wait two hours before having a second blood sample taken. (5)