What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce insulin or produces insulin that does not function very well. The body needs insulin to convert blood sugar, also known as glucose, into energy. Without enough insulin, the patient's glucose can build up in the bloodstream to high levels, and this can lead to complications.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms include frequent urination, weight loss, weakness and tiredness, excessive thirst and excessive hunger.
Is there a cure?
There is no cure for diabetes. However, research has shown that proper care -- eating the right foods, getting enough exercise and using the proper medication -- can help prevent long-term complications from diabetes such as amputations, nerve damage, blindness, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
Are there different types of diabetes?
- Type 1 Diabetes: Patients with Type 1 diabetes are not able to produce insulin at all. They must take insulin at least once a day. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood, but can start as late as young adulthood.
- Type 2 Diabetes: About 90% of all patients with diabetes are Type 2. These patients either do not produce enough insulin or their bodies ignore whatever insulin is produced. Treatment after diagnosis should include exercise, medication, proper nutrition and other lifestyle changes.
- Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes only develops during pregnancy. While it usually goes away after the baby is born, the mother is at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Pre-Diabetes: This is the stage between normal blood sugar levels and those that are high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. During this stage, making changes in lifestyle patterns including food choices and exercise can help turn back the clock and return blood sugars to normal.
The American Diabetes Association
The American Dietetic Association
The American Association of Diabetes Educators
Children with Diabetes Online Community
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
KidsHealth Diabetes Center