Points to Remember about Diabetes
Important Points to Remember
- Diabetes is a complex group of diseases with a variety of causes. Scientists believe genes and environmental factors interact to cause diabetes in most cases.
- People with diabetes have high blood glucose, also called high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Diabetes develops when the body doesn't make enough insulin or is not able to use insulin effectively, or both.
- Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin helps cells throughout the body absorb and use glucose for energy. If the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin effectively, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by cells in the body, and the body is starved of energy.
- Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels or A1C levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with prediabetes can substantially reduce their risk of developing diabetes by losing weight and increasing physical activity.
- The two main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a third form of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy.
- Type 1 diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin due to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. In type 1 diabetes - an autoimmune disease is the body's immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes is caused by a combination of factors, including insulin resistance, a condition in which the body's muscle, fat, and liver cells do not use insulin effectively. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to compensate for the impaired ability to use insulin.
- Scientists believe gestational diabetes is caused by the hormonal changes and metabolic demands of pregnancy together with genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include being overweight and having a family history of diabetes.
- Monogenic forms of diabetes are relatively uncommon and are caused by mutations in single genes that limit insulin production, quality, or action in the body.
- Other types of diabetes are caused by diseases and injuries that damage the pancreas; certain chemical toxins and medications; infections; and other conditions.
Hope through Research
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts and supports research into many kinds of disorders, including diabetes. Researchers throughout the United States and the world are working to better understand, prevent, and treat this disease. Finding ways to prevent or delay diabetes in people at risk is a key goal of this research. Scientists are identifying genes that may be involved in type 1 or type 2 diabetes and studying how they work. Studies are clarifying the complicated mechanisms that damage beta cells in diabetes. A great deal of work is also focused on preventing the different types of diabetes and improving treatment.