Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With Type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb. Pregnant women can also get diabetes, called gestational diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes may include fatigue, thirst, weight loss, blurred vision and frequent urination. Some people have no symptoms. A blood test can show if you have diabetes. Exercise, weight control and sticking to your meal plan can help control your diabetes. You should also monitor your glucose level and take medicine if prescribed.
Diabetes affects an estimated 17 million Americans, and the number rises each year. Find in-depth information here about diabetes prevention, diet, treatments, and research. Plus, find daily support and nutritional tips in our online message boards.