Print this page


Diabetes affects the way the body uses the foods that are eaten. Some of the foods are broken down into glucose (sugar), which then enters the bloodstream. The pancreas, a gland behind your stomach, senses the rise in glucose after eating and releases a hormone called insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin helps to move the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. The cells in the body use glucose for energy in the same way a car uses gas as fuel. The cells need a constant supply of energy to live and function. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot properly move the glucose in the bloodstream into the cells of the body.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. The glucose remains in the bloodstream causing the glucose to rise above the normal range of 70 - 99 mg/dl. If untreated, high blood glucose can lead to coma and death. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to control blood glucose levels. The cause of type 1 diabetes is not known, but there is evidence suggesting it is related to a virus. Type 1 diabetes usually affects younger people before the age of 30, usually in the adolescent or teen years; however, it can develop at any age.

In type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin, but it may not be enough or properly used. Either way, too much glucose stays in the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in older adults, but recently there has been an increase among teenagers. Risks for developing type 2 diabetes are a family history of diabetes, being overweight or obese and lack of physical activity.

Gestational diabetes develops in women during pregnancy. Uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy can cause harm to the health of the baby. After the baby is born, the mother�s blood glucose usually returns to normal. Women who have gestational diabetes are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Contact the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland at:

Phone:     Fax:      E-Mail:

Diabetes Matters is a trademark of the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland. All rights reserved.

All information on this website is subject to the DISCLAIMER and PRIVACY POLICY.

A United Way Agency

� Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland