About Diabetes

What should you know about diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery. Both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles in the cause of type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Usually results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms may seem harmless. Recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes. Some diabetes symptoms include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability and blurry vision. If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away.

Diabetes Complications are Serious

  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Leading cause of kidney failure
  • Nervous system disease and non-traumatic lower-limb amputations

You can take our Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes at www.diabetes.org/risktest or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.

For more information about diabetes, please visit www.diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES.

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