What is Diabetes?

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot properly store and use fuel for energy. The fuel that your body needs is called glucose. Glucose comes from foods such as breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruits and some vegetables. To use glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is made by a gland in your body called the pancreas.

You have diabetes because either:

  • Your body makes too little or no insulin. This is called type 1 diabetes; or
  • Your body can’t use the insulin it makes. This is called type 2 diabetes.

With little or no insulin, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy. This causes high blood glucose levels. When this happens, you may:

  • Feel tired;
  • Be thirsty;          
  • Urinate often
  • Be hungry;         
  • Be moody.   

You may also:

  • Lose weight;
  • Have blurry vision;
  • Get infections Over the long term, abnormally high blood glucose levels can lead to conditions called either impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose, or diabetes. These conditions, when left untreated, can lead to:
  • kidney failure;
  • heart disease;
  • impotence;
  • Blindness;
  • amputation

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, by keeping your blood glucose levels in a target range determined by your doctor, you can reduce your risk of complications and live a long and healthy life. Your doctor will tell you what type of diabetes you have and what you need to do.