Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make any insulin or can't use the insulin it does make as well as it should. Insulin is a hormone made in the body. It helps glucose (sugar) from food enter the cells where it can be used to give the body energy. Without insulin, glucose remains in the blood stream and cannot be used for energy by the cells. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause many health problems.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness, kidney disease, and amputation, and it contributes greatly to the state's and nation's number one killer, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). People with diabetes are more likely to die from flu or pneumonia.
Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar; in fact there is no such thing as "having a touch of sugar," as some people believe. Only a doctor or health care provider can diagnose diabetes either by conducting a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
What Causes Diabetes?
Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the body no longer makes insulin because the body's own immune system has attacked and destroyed the cells where insulin is made. The cause of this isn't entirely clear but it may include genetic risk factors and environmental factors. One theory is that type 1 diabetes may occur after having a specific virus.
People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live. There is no known way to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes, but it can be controlled by keeping blood glucose (sugar) levels within a normal range.
Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. The risk of having type 2 diabetes increases as a person gets older.
Go to www.Diabetes.org to learn more and to take the diabetes risk test.