University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension

HOT Project: Healthy Outcomes for Teens

http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/hot

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where glucose in the blood is higher than normal. Glucose is a kind of sugar that comes from foods. Foods that have glucose in them include carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are foods like apples, potatoes, and other vegetables, fruits or dairy.

Blood glucose that is too high is called hyperglycemia. Glucose is carried through the blood and is used for energy. Our bodies keep our glucose in a good range by using or storing it. The body is normally able to control blood glucose levels to keep it within a normal range. The body does this by using a hormone called insulin. Insulin is released by the pancreas. However, a person with diabetes has trouble making or using insulin. When this happens, blood glucose levels rise. When glucose levels rise, that is when hyperglycemia happens.

In Type 1 diabetes there is no insulin, so glucose does not get into the cell. This person needs to take insulin.

In Type 2 diabetes the insulin does not work well. Some glucose gets in the cell, but some does not. This person may or may not need to take insulin.

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