Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but healthy lifestyle habits, taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education, and keeping appointments with your health care team can greatly reduce its impact on your life.
- 30.3 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t know they have it.
- Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US.