University of Illinois Extension
 

Why do some people have high blood glucose levels?

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Glucose primarily comes from the food we eat. Mainly foods containing carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and used for energy. Once food is broken down into glucose, it enters the blood and is carried to all the cells of the body. However, in order for glucose to enter the cell, a special helper and cell receptor are needed. The helper that glucose needs to enter the cell is called insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Cell receptors are like doorways into a cell. A cell can have many receptors.

To imagine how glucose, insulin, and cell receptors work, think of your car. To park in your garage, you need a garage door and a garage door opener. Glucose is like your car, the cell receptor is like the garage door, and the insulin is like the opener.

If your body does not make enough insulin or if the insulin or the cell receptors do not work the way they should, glucose cannot get into your cells. Instead, glucose stays in your blood causing hyperglycemia. A complete lack of insulin results in type 1 diabetes. Insulin or cell receptors that do not work properly result in type 2 diabetes.

Back to: General Overview of Diabetes and Food

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.