Diabetes Basics

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which your body is unable to properly use and store glucose, a type of sugar. The glucose backs up in the bloodstream, resulting in blood glucose ('sugar') to increase.


What causes diabetes?

All types of diabetes causes people to have too much glucose in their blood. Glucose is very important to our body as it provides us our energy. We get glucose when our body breaks down the carbohydrates we consume in our diet. That glucose is released to our blood stream.

We also need a hormone that is called insulin that is made by our pancreas. It is the hormone that allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our body.


Photo Credit: International Diabetes Federation


If you don't have diabetes, your pancreas can sense that glucose has entered the bloodstream and releases the correct amount of insulin so the glucose can enter the body cells.


But if you have diabetes, this system does not work properly, or does not work at all.


Types of Diabetes

There are four types of Diabetes Clinical Cases:


Type 1 Diabetes, commonly known as juvenile diabetes, results from beta cell destruction that usually leads to insulin deficiency.


Type 2 Diabetes results from a progressive insulin secretory defect, where the body is not able to recognize insulin hormone signals needed to break down sugars and carbohydrates.


Gestational diabetes mellitus is diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy.


Other types of specific diabetes can be caused by:

  • genetic defects in beta cell function or insulin action
  • pancreatic diseases
  • drug- or chemical- induced (such as in HIV/AIDs treatment or after organ transplantation)

Diabetes affects almost 30 million people, and that number is growing each day.

Any donation will make a big difference in our fight against these growing numbers and against diabetes.

Diabetes National Institute is a campaign against diabetes and a community effort to enrich the lives of people with diabetes. Learn about our mission.


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