Frequently Asked Questions

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition in which your body has trouble using a sugar called glucose. As a result, the sugar level in your blood becomes too high. Over time, high blood sugar causes serious health problems.

Diabetes is also a disease of the pancreas, an organ located behind your stomach. Normally, the pancrease releases insulin into the blood. Insulin helps the body to use glucose. When a person has diabetes, the pancreas either does not make insulin, makes only a little insulin, or makes insulin that does not work as it should.

Why is managing diabetes important?

Diabetes prevents the body from lowering blood sugar (glucose). Over time, high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels and nerves. This may lead to problems in several parts of the body, including the feet, digestive system, eyes and sexual organs. It also increases the risk of kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, blindness and gum disease.

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is most often diagnosed in patients under 18, but can strike at any age. Type 1 diabetics need insulin to manage diabetes.

In Type 2 diabetes, the body loses its sensitivity to insulin. Traditionally, Type 2 diabetes was diagnosed in older people. But with the rise in obesity, it's now being diagnosed at younger ages, sometimes even in children. Some traditionally thin populations are also being diagnosed with the disease as well. Type 2 is generally treated with changes to diet and exercise habits, as well as oral medication or insulin.