Diabetes is a serious medical condition characterized by high levels of glucose in
Glucose is a simple sugar that comes from the food you eat. When your stomach
digests food, glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. The glucose circulates
in your blood and serves as the main source of fuel for all the cells in your
|All cells in the body need a continuous supply of
energy to carry out normal body functions. Glucose, a simple sugar derived
from the foods we eat, is the primary source of cellular energy. Glucose
is transported throughout the body by the bloodstream.
However, glucose cannot get inside cells by itself. Glucose needs insulin,
a hormone produced by the pancreas, to transport it from blood into cells.
|The pancreas is a gland that lies behind the liver
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas either can't produce any insulin at all,
can't produce enough insulin, or the body can't use the insulin it makes. When
any of these happens, glucose builds up in the blood. This is a condition known
as hyperglycemia. The result is that the body lacks the fuel it needs.
- Type 1 diabetes -- Usually starts in childhood and accounts for
5 - 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes produce
little or no insulin and therefore must use insulin daily to control their
- Type 2 diabetes -- Usually starts in adulthood, although it is being
diagnosed more often in children because of rising rates of childhood obesity.
The symptoms can be subtle. Many people don't even know they have type 2
diabetes. It is much more common than type 1, accounting for 90 - 95% of
cases. People with type 2 diabetes are resistant to the insulin the body
makes. Type 2 diabetes is often controlled with diet and exercise, and sometimes
oral drugs or insulin.
- Gestational diabetes -- Some women develop this form of diabetes
when they are pregnant. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the
baby is born, but the woman is then at higher risk for developing type 2
diabetes later in her life.
American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes
Care. 2007;30(suppl 1):542-547.
McDermott MT. Endocrine Secrets. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO:
Review Date: 5/10/2007
Reviewed By: Robert Hurd, MD, Professor of Endocrinology, Department of Biology, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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