What is Diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious disease that occurs when the . More than 30 million Americans have diabetes today. That number that has more than tripled in the last 20 years, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2. In Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t use insulin the way it should. That makes blood sugar high.

About 5 percent of diabetics have Type 1 diabetes. Their bodies don’t make insulin, causing high blood sugar.

When the body can’t control blood sugar, it can cause problems. Skin and eye issues are common. And uncontrolled diabetes can lead to kidney disease, high blood pressure or stroke.

Diabetes doesn’t always give a clear warning. Signs may be mild or go unnoticed. But common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Great thirst
  • Excessive irritability
  • Extreme hunger and weight loss (Type 1)
  • Weight gain (Type 2)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of strength
  • Tiredness
  • Hands for feet that tingle or feel numb
  • Hard-to-heal skin, gum or bladder infections
  • Blurred eyesight

Talk to your doctor if you have these signs. In our next article, we will explore what each of these three types mean and how they touch those who live with them.

Are you living with diabetes? Tell us how you found it.

Go back to the Diabetes Education Series, read  the next article in the series: Type 1 Diabetes or watch videos below.


Teresa Kunath
RN Clinical Specialist


Originally published 1/13/2016; Revised 2019