Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
Type 1 diabetes, which was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile-onset diabetes, may account for 5% to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Healthy eating, physical activity, and insulin injections are the basic therapies for type 1 diabetes. The amount of insulin taken must be balanced with food intake and daily activities. Blood glucose levels must be closely monitored through frequent blood glucose testing. Healthy eating, physical activity, and blood glucose control are the basics for managing type 2 diabetes. In addition, many people with type 2 diabetes require oral medication, insulin, or both to control their blood glucose levels. People with diabetes must take responsibility for their day-to-day care, and keep blood glucose levels from going too low or too high.
Having diabetes increases your risk for developing a number of health complications. Some of the most common complications affect your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and feet.