Living with Diabetes? Learn More About What It Means

Living with Diabetes? Learn More About What It Means

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar). Our bodies use this sugar as fuel to give our cells the energy they need to function properly. It’s a delicate balance, though. When blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, it can put a person at risk for a serious chronic disease – diabetes.

The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, works to keep glucose levels under control. It makes a hormone called insulin that helps glucose get into our cells. In someone with diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its insulin the way it should. An unhealthy level of sugar builds up in the blood.

The best defense against the diabetes is to educate yourself about your disease. Know how to take care of yourself if you are diagnosed with the disease.

Learn More About Diabetes 
  • Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that affects people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and genders. 
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the Unites States.
  • More than 37 million people have the disease and one-in-five of them don’t even know it.
  • There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Both are caused when the body has trouble making or using insulin.
  • Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't make enough, or stops making insulin altogether. Type 1 diabetes can come on suddenly. It often strikes children and teenagers, but can show up later in life. Type 1 diabetes can't be cured, but it can be managed by taking insulin. 
  • With Type 2 diabetes, the body's cells don't respond to insulin. When sugar can't get into cells, it builds up in the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes is most often triggered by being overweight or obese and not getting much physical activity.
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of cases in the United States.
  • Diabetes can lead to serious health issues. It boosts the risks for heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation. 
  • Early detection and treatment can help prevent these other health issues.
  • Good self-management, following treatment and medication plans are linked to positive health outcomes and a better quality of life.
Source: Diabetes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022. 

Originally published 11/23/2015; Revised 2019, 2022