Diabetes is a chronic medical condition characterized by elevated levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels and allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as a source of energy.
There are different types of diabetes, including:
Type 1 diabetes: This autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes: This is the most common form of diabetes and typically develops later in life, although it can also occur in children and adolescents. In type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to the insulin it produces. This type of diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. It can often be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes, oral medications, and, in some cases, insulin therapy.
Gestational diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually resolves after the baby is born. However, women who develop gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Prediabetes: This condition occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a warning sign that individuals are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and provides an opportunity for early intervention through lifestyle changes.
Diabetes can have serious health consequences if left uncontrolled. Persistent high blood sugar levels can lead to various complications affecting the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and cardiovascular system. However, with proper management, including blood sugar monitoring, medication, healthy eating, regular physical activity, and, in some cases, insulin therapy, individuals with diabetes can lead full and active lives while minimizing the risk of complications. Regular medical check-ups and ongoing education about diabetes management are essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being.
Dr. Robert Ratner – Endocrinologist, former Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of the American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Anne Peters – Endocrinologist, Director of the Clinical Diabetes Programs at the University of Southern California.
Dr. David Nathan – Endocrinologist, Director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. William Cefalu – Endocrinologist, Chief Scientific, Medical & Mission Officer of the American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Frank Hu – Nutrition and Diabetes Researcher, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
American Diabetes Association (ADA): www.diabetes.org
Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK): www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/diabetes/home/index.html
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/health-topics/diabetes