What is Diabetes?
"Diabetes is a disorder characterized by the presence of high blood sugar due to defective insulin secretion, action or both." (Definition from Canadian Diabetes Association)
...So what does this actually mean?
Diabetes is a disease that affects insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. Insulin is what is needed for sugar or glucose to move from the blood into muscles for use or for storage.
When someone has diabetes, his or her body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly.
Without insulin, or if the insulin is not working properly, then blood sugar cannot move from the blood into muscle- if sugar or glucose stays in the blood, it can cause damage to blood vessels and organs.
There are several types of diabetes:
Type 1: People with Type 1 diabetes always need insulin injections because their pancreas is not producing any insulin. Sometimes referred to as 'Juvenile Diabetes'.
Type 2: People with Type 2 diabetes may need insulin injections but they may not. Some people with Type 2 are producing enough insulin, but they are not using insulin properly (this is what the term insulin resistant means). They may be managing their diabetes with diet and exercise, or may need to add medications or insulin to help control blood sugar. 90 percent of people with Diabetes have Type 2.
Gestational: This is increased blood sugar when a woman is pregnant. This form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, but these women are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms can include:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased hunger
- Unexplained weight loss