With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream.
- When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin.
- Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
- With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should.
- When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream.
Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease, There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help. Other things you can do to help:
Take medicine as prescribed. Get diabetes self-management education and support. Make and keep health care appointments.
More than 37 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is the No.1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult blindness. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled,
Are diabetes a disease?
Overview – Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose. Hyperglycaemia, also called raised blood glucose or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
- In 2014, 8.5% of adults aged 18 years and older had diabetes.
- In 2019, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths and 48% of all deaths due to diabetes occurred before the age of 70 years.
- Another 460 000 kidney disease deaths were caused by diabetes, and raised blood glucose causes around 20% of cardiovascular deaths (1),
Between 2000 and 2019, there was a 3% increase in age-standardized mortality rates from diabetes. In lower-middle-income countries, the mortality rate due to diabetes increased 13%. By contrast, the probability of dying from any one of the four main noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases or diabetes) between the ages of 30 and 70 decreased by 22% globally between 2000 and 2019.
Is diabetes genetic disease?
Type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history and lineage than type 1, and studies of twins have shown that genetics play a very strong role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Race can also play a role. Yet it also depends on environmental factors.
Is diabetes a life long disease?
Diabetes is usually a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 – where the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin. type 2 – where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.
What hormone do diabetics lack?
Endocrine Connection – Diabetes occurs when the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach, does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, or the body cannot use insulin properly. Insulin helps carry sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. Once inside the cells, sugar is converted into energy for immediate use or stored for the future.
- That energy fuels many of our bodily functions.
- The body produces glucose from the foods you eat.
- The liver also releases sugar when you are not eating.
- The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which allows glucose from the bloodstream to enter the body’s cells where it is used for energy.
- In type 2 diabetes, too little insulin is produced, or the body cannot use insulin properly, or both.
This results in a build-up of glucose in the blood. People with diabetes are at risk of developing serious health problems ( complications ). If your blood glucose level stays too high for too long, complications can include:
Blindness Kidney disease and failure Nerve damage which can result in nerve pain or injury to the feet or other extremities without feeling pain Heart attacks (with or without symptoms) Stroke
There are three blood tests that can be used to check the levels of glucose in your blood and diagnose prediabetes or diabetes:
Fasting Blood Glucose Test (FBG): Blood is drawn in the morning after you go without food overnight or for at least 8 hours. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): This test is also done in the morning after going without food overnight or for at least 8 hours. Blood is drawn before you drink 8 ounces of a sugar solution and 2 hours after. This test is more precise but less convenient than the FBG test. Hemoglobin A1C Test (A1C): This test shows what your average blood glucose levels have been over the past 3 months. You can eat and drink normally before the test.
If you are living with diabetes, lifestyle is an important part of your care. It is very important that you eat a good balance of real foods every day and exercise regularly. Managing your diabetes also means taking medicine, if needed, and testing your blood sugar levels each day.
- Prediabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.
- Over time, this can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Unfortunately, prediabetes symptoms are hard to spot, so many people have the condition and do not know it.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that about 79 million American adults over the age of 20 have prediabetes. As the population ages, becomes increasingly overweight and increasingly inactive, the number of adults with prediabetes continues to grow.
Being obese or overweight Not getting enough exercise A family history of type 2 diabetes Being 45 or older African American, Latino/Hispanic or American Indian family background Having had gestational diabetes Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
Preventing prediabetes is done with lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet that is high in vegetables and fruits and low in fat and processed foods. Regular physical activity, averaging 30 minutes five days per week, is also important. Maintaining a healthy weight or losing 5–10% of your weight if you are overweight, can also help.
- In addition to lifestyle changes, a few drugs have been proven to lower the risk of developing diabetes if you have prediabetes.
- These drugs do have side effects, and their benefits wear off when you stop taking the drug, making lifestyle change the best option for tackling this problem.
- Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, can develop at any age but most often occurs in children, teens, and young adults.
In type 1 diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces little or no insulin, so insulin treatment is needed for a lifetime. The causes of type 1 diabetes are not fully known. In most cases, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the part of the pancreas that produces insulin.
This occurs over a period of time. So early on in type 1 diabetes, people may not have any symptoms. It is only when enough of the insulin producing cells are affected and insulin levels are low that the blood sugar rises and symptoms of diabetes start to occur. Because type 1 is an autoimmune disease, people with other autoimmune, conditions, such as Hashimoto’s disease or primary adrenal insufficiency (also known as Addison’s Disease), are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.
Overall, cases of type 1 diabetes seem to be increasing. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes can look like other conditions or medical problems. If you (or your child) have these symptoms, talk with your doctor as soon as possible.
Increased thirst Increased urination Constant hunger Weight loss Blurred vision Constantly feeling tired
People with type 1 diabetes must have daily injections of insulin to keep a normal level of glucose in the blood. Blood glucose is kept under the best control with three or more injections per day using long and short acting insulin, or when insulin is delivered throughout the day with an insulin pump.
- A healthy diet, exercise, and regular monitoring of blood glucose levels are also important to manage diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, affecting 90–95% of people with diabetes.
- In type 2 diabetes, the body is resistant to the action of insulin, meaning it cannot use insulin properly, so it cannot carry sugar into the cells.
Although the body makes some insulin, it is not enough to overcome this resistance. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, or have a history of diabetes during pregnancy. Other groups more likely to have the disease are people over age 45 and non-Caucasians.
- A simple blood test can tell you if you have diabetes.
- Individuals with this condition have a pancreas that is able to produce insulin, but their bodies are unable to use or process the insulin that is made.
- Over time, the pancreas may stop creating insulin altogether, but type 2 diabetes starts with the inability to process the insulin that is made.
Being older (over 45) and overweight are the greatest risk factors for developing diabetes. Other factors that increase your chances of developing high blood glucose include:
Having a parent or sibling with diabetes Having an African American, Latino/Hispanic, or American Indian family background Having had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds Having high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or higher) Having low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol (below 35 mg/dL in men or 45 mg/dL in women) or high levels of triglycerides (above 250 mg/dL) Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) Being physically inactive
People with both type 1 and type 2 have high blood glucose levels, but the reasons for those high levels differ. Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes include: Age of diagnosis: Type 1 is typically diagnosed in children or young people (but it can be diagnosed in older individuals as well), while type 2 diabetes is generally diagnosed in adults and occasionally children.
- Treatment options : For individuals with type 1 diabetes, the only effective treatment is insulin.
- For people with type 2 diabetes, oral medications (pills), insulin, or non-insulin injectables may be used.
- Hypoglycemia : Blood sugar levels can drop to dangerously low levels in people with type I diabetes, but it can also occur in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Certain medications, such as insulin, may increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Preventability: While certain experimental medications may postpone the development of type 1 diabetes, there are no means of preventing type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented with lifestyle changes.
Gestational Diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes that can occur when a woman is pregnant. During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones that help the baby develop. These hormones also block the effects of insulin in the woman’s body, increasing her blood sugar levels. Most women who have gestational diabetes have no symptoms.
If a woman has high blood sugar in pregnanct, she will have to follow a special diet for the rest of the pregnancy. In some cases, she may also need to take insulin. High blood sugar in women with gestational diabetes can affect them and their baby. These risks include:
Premature delivery and preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure). The baby grows too large. Very large babies may get stuck in the birth canal and have birth injuries. Large size also increases the chances of needing a cesarean (surgical) delivery. May cause stillbirth. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes also increases the risk of jaundice and breathing problems in the newborn. After birth, the baby may develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), a potentially dangerous condition. While in the womb, the baby’s pancreas produces large amounts of insulin in response to the mother’s high blood sugar, and it continues to do so after delivery. Without the sugar supplied by the mother, excess insulin can cause the baby’s own glucose level to drop too low.
Gestational diabetes affects about 4–8 of every 100 pregnant women in the United States. Any pregnant woman can develop the condition, but some women are at greater risk than others. Among women with the below risk factors, as many as 14 in 100 develop gestational diabetes. Known risk factors include:
Age (older than 25 years; the risk is even greater after age 35) Race (occurs more often in African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian Americans) Overweight and obesity Personal history of gestational diabetes or prediabetes Having delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds Family history of type 2 diabetes (in parents or siblings)
Monogenic Diabetes (MODY) is the least common form of diabetes. It is developed as a result of single gene mutations. Monogenic diabetes appears in several forms and most often affects young people.
Do I need to be checked for prediabetes? If I have prediabetes, should I be checked for type 2 diabetes? How often? Should I take medicine to treat my prediabetes? What are the benefits and risks of prediabetes medicines? How can I lose weight if I need to? What can I (or my child) do to keep blood glucose level on target? What should I (or my child) eat? Which medicines do I (or my child) need? What type of exercise is best for me (or my child)? How often should I (or my child) check blood glucose levels? Should I (or my child) see a diabetes educator? Should I (or my child) see an endocrinologist? Should I have my blood glucose level tested? What are the results of my testing and what do they mean? What can I do to bring my glucose levels back to normal? What can I do to prevent gestational diabetes? I have gestational diabetes. How often should I check my blood glucose level? How often should I check my blood glucose after my baby is born? Can gestational diabetes lead to other health problems?
Endocrine Library >>
Can diabetics claim benefits?
Diabetes and disability benefits – Parents and carers of children with diabetes and some people with diabetes may be able to claim a disability benefit – see the different disability benefits on gov.uk, Not everyone with diabetes who takes insulin or medication is eligible for a disability benefit.
- It’s not the type of diabetes you have that matters in benefit terms, but the level of care you need day to day to do tasks or get around – or are providing if you’re a carer.
- We have information on the two main disability benefits: Disability Living Allowance for children,
- And Personal Independence Payment which has replaced Disability Living Allowance for adults.
Here at Diabetes UK, we cannot tell you if you are eligible for a benefit – or help with benefit problems. But we signpost to information that you can read to help you decide if you think you have a claim – and how to proceed. If you need help to decide or make a claim, use the find an advisor tool from turn2us,
What is Category 2 diabetes?
What is type 2 diabetes? – Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. This means your blood glucose (sugar) levels keep rising.
Is diabetes a disease type 1?
Disease of the Week – Diabetes Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Insulin is a hormone that acts like a key to let blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake) that stops your body from making insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2—approximately 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1. for type 1 diabetes are not as clear as for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, though family history is known to play a part. Blood sugar levels change often during the day. When they drop below 70 mg/dL, this is called having (hypoglycemia). At this level, you need to take action to bring it back up. Low blood sugar is serious and especially common in people with type 1 diabetes. Common symptoms of may include fast heartbeat, shaking, sweating, nervousness or anxiety, irritability or confusion, dizziness, and hunger. Many are used to treat diabetes. Types of insulin are classified by how fast and how long they work in your body. is a serious complication of diabetes that happens when your blood sugar is too high for too long and can be life-threatening. DKA is most common among people with, People with can also develop DKA. Good diabetes care (including self-care) and are key to living well with diabetes.: Disease of the Week – Diabetes Type 1