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What is diabetes?

To understand diabetes, it helps to understand what happens when you do not have diabetes. When you eat your food, much of it is broken down into a sugar called glucose. Glucose is fuel for your body cells. As glucose rises in the bloodstream, insulin is released into the bloodstream from the pancreas.

Insulin is a hormone that is made in the pancreas. The insulin attaches to your body cells and allows the glucose to pass into the cells. All this happens automatically when you do not have diabetes.Diabetes is a chronic condition that happens when the body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use insulin effectively.

In people with:

  • Type 1 diabetes, cells that make insulin (pancreatic beta-cells) can no longer make the insulin that your body needs.
  • Type 2 diabetes, the body may not make enough insulin or the body may not be able to use it effectively, or sometimes both.1

In either case, the result is that glucose builds up in the blood stream and the circulating glucose can cause damage that leads to diabetes-related complications.

Living with diabetes can affect your daily life but it is important to know that people with diabetes can lead a full and active life by learning to manage it.

Diabetes management includes:

  • eating a healthy meal plan
  • being physically active
  • adopting other healthy habits, such as managing your weight, and avoiding smoking2
  • checking your blood glucose with a blood glucose meter
  • keeping your blood pressure in control
  • taking insulin or oral medications, if appropriate
  • understanding what having diabetes means for you on a day-to-day basis, so you can be in charge

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References:

  1. Diabetes.org.uk, 2012: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/What-is-diabetes/
  2. WHO Factsheet 312, 2013 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/

 

The information on this site is intended to provide you with information about Ascensia Diabetes Care’s products and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.  Any questions or concerns you have regarding diabetes or a medical condition should always be discussed with a qualified medical professional.