What Is Diabetes?


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.  If you have diabetes, it means your body does not make enough (or any) insulin or your body does not use insulin well. Insulin helps change glucose into energy needed for your body to carry out basic tasks and ultimately to keep you alive.  Without proper levels of insulin, glucose cannot reach your cells and instead stays in your blood stream, causing diabetes and other diabetes-related complications.

Types of Diabetes


Prediabetes is when a person’s blood glucose is higher than it should be – but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Approximately 1 in 3 adults have prediabetes but most do not know they have it. If you have been told you have prediabetes, now is the time to act. Lifestyle changes can reverse or delay prediabetes. Losing 5-7% of your weight and exercising for 150 minutes per week have shown to greatly reduce a person’s risk. Take the first step to determine if you are at an increased risk for diabetes by completing the prediabetes risk test.

Do I Have Prediabetes?

Learn more about how you can reverse prediabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes  is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but it can develop at any age. If a person has type 1 diabetes, their body does not make insulin and therefore, they have to take insulin shots or wear an insulin pump every day. 

Common symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Urinating often
  • Thirsty
  • Hungry
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and had historically occurred in people over age 45. However, more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include having someone in your family with diabetes, being overweight, getting little or no exercise, and having diabetes while pregnant. Certain racial and ethnic groups are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. These include African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, and Alaska Native.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop over a long period of time and some people never notice any symptoms. It is important to know your risks and talk to your doctor about having your blood sugar tested.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in women who have never had diabetes but who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy. The purpose of treatment for gestational diabetes is to ensure a healthy mom and baby, and a safe delivery. This can be done through healthy eating, physical activity, and blood glucose testing. Women who experience gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.