Basic Facts

When the body digests food, it changes much of it into glucose. Glucose is a sugar that the bodys cells need for energy.

The hormone insulin helps the body use glucose and maintain healthy blood levels of glucose.

When the body’s insulin level is a problem, glucose doesn’t go into the body’s cells. Instead, glucose remains in the blood and causes high blood sugar levels. This can harm much of the body over time.

Common Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

This happens when the pancreas (an organ in the body) does not make enough insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to control their blood sugar.

Children and young adults usually get Type 1 diabetes. However, 10 percent of older adults with diabetes have this type. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type occurs when the pancreas cant produce enough insulin, or when the body cant use insulin well (insulin resistance).

Older adults are likely to develop type 2 diabetes because age can make the body less able to use sugars. Ninety percent of older adults with diabetes have type 2.

Pre-Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

These health conditions increase the risk of getting diabetes.

Pre-diabetes means glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. This raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other problems, including heart disease.

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of symptoms including high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, high blood sugar, and extra fat around the waist.

You can prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes and lower your risk for heart disease and other problems. Losing weight and increasing physical activity works.


Last Updated April 2023

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