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What is Diabetes?


Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Insulin is needed to move sugar from our blood to our cells. People with diabetes either do not produce insulin or their bodies cannot effectively use insulin. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications.


Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder that affects 5 to 10 percent of all people with diabetes. It is characterized by the loss of insulin producing cells and requires insulin delivered by injection or through a pump.
  • Type 2 is more common and affects 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes. It develops gradually and is characterized by insulin deficiency and resistance. Treatment can include medical nutrition therapy, oral medications and injections.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in 2 to 10 percent of all pregnancies and causes complications for both mother and child. Immediately after pregnancy, 5 to 10 percent of women with gestational diabetes are found to have diabetes, usually type 2. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35 to 60 percent chance of developing diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years.