Diabetes Basics

What Diabetes Is

Diabetes means your blood glucose (often called blood sugar) is too high. Your blood always has some glucose in it because your body needs glucose for energy to keep you going. But too much glucose in the blood isn’t good for your health.

How do you get high blood glucose?
Glucose comes from the food you eat and is also made in your liver and muscles. Your blood carries the glucose to all the cells in your body. Insulin is a chemical (a hormone) made by the pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin helps the glucose from food get into your cells. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or if the insulin doesn’t work the way it should, glucose can’t get into your cells. It stays in your blood instead. Your blood glucose level then gets too high, causing pre-diabetes or diabetes.

What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. The good news is, if you have pre-diabetes, you can reduce your risk of getting diabetes. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes and even return to normal glucose levels.

What are the signs of diabetes?

The signs of diabetes are

* being very thirsty
* urinating often
* feeling very hungry or tired
* losing weight without trying
* having sores that heal slowly
* having dry, itchy skin
* losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet
* having blurry eyesight

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