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What is Diabetes?

 

Having diabetes means your body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone made by a gland near your stomach called the pancreas.
Your body changes the food you eat into a sugar called glucose. Glucose is the fuel your body needs for all your activities, whether it’s eating, reading, walking or running. Your body uses insulin to carry glucose from your bloodstream into your cells.

When you have diabetes, glucose isn't carried properly to your cells, so too much stays in your bloodstream. This is called hyperglycaemia or high blood glucose. Left untreated, high blood glucose can cause a lot of damage to your body.

There are three common types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes - Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body makes antibodies against itself. In the case of diabetes, these antibodies attack the pancreas so it can no longer produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults. It is sometimes known as Juvenile Diabetes.
  • Type 2 Diabetes – A condition that usually occurs in people over the age of 40 but is increasingly occurring at earlier ages. In type 2 diabetes, your body makes less insulin or your cells resist the insulin that it makes. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease, which means it affects how energy is used in the body.
  • Gestational Diabetes – Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose that can occur in a small number of pregnant women who have never been diagnosed with diabetes. Hormone changes in pregnancy can cause insulin resistance and, therefore, a small number of women develop gestational diabetes as it is more difficult for their body to use insulin during this time.

You can help gain control over your diabetes by educating yourself with tools from this site. Combining a balanced diet with regular exercise, and following the testing and insulin or medication plan prescribed by your healthcare team.

 

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