What Is Diabetes?


Diabetes is a disease in which the body doesn't produce or properly use the hormone insulin. Insulin allows glucose (converted from carbohydrates) into the cells for energy. There are three types of diabetes, Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. If you have Type I diabetes your body does not make insulin. If you have Type 2 diabetes your body does not make or use insulin well. If you have gestational diabetes only during pregnancy and typically goes away after the pregnancy.

Without enough insulin, glucose cannot enter into the cells and so builds up in the bloodstream. High blood glucose levels lead to frequent urination, extreme thirst, and tiredness.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Untreated diabetes can have serious consequences. Everyone over the age of 45 should have a blood glucose test every three years as it's possible to have diabetes without displaying any symptoms.

If you have any of the following symptoms you should see your doctor for testing:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Irritability
  • Unusual hunger
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent skin, bladder or gum infections
  • Wounds that don't heal
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet