Take Charge of Your Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into our body cells. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin very well. This problem causes glucose to build up in your blood.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

You may recall having some of these signs before you found out you had diabetes:

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes.

Type 1

One out of ten people with diabetes has Type 1 diabetes. These people usually find out they have diabetes when they are children or young adults. People with Type 1 diabetes must inject insulin every day to live. The pancreas of a person with Type 1 makes little or no insulin. Scientists are learning more about what causes the body to attack its own beta cells of the pancreas (an autoimmune process) to stop making insulin in people with certain sets of genes.

Type 2

Most people with diabetes—nine out of ten—have Type 2 diabetes. The pancreas of people with Type 2 diabetes keeps making insulin for some time, but the body can’t use it very well. Most people with Type 2 find out about their diabetes after age 30 or 40.

Certain risk factors make people more likely to get Type 2 diabetes. Some of these are: