Diabetes is a disease where your blood sugar (also called glucose) is too high because your body does not make or use insulin the way it should. Insulin is a hormone, which is a chemical your body makes. It helps your body turn the sugar from the food you eat into energy. When your body does not use insulin the way it should, too much sugar stays in your blood.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which is a type of disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. In type 1 diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin because your body attacks the cells in your pancreas that make it. The pancreas is an organ in your upper belly area that makes insulin, as well as the digestive juices that help you digest food. You cannot prevent type 1 diabetes, but you can treat it with regular insulin shots.
Type 2 diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin, but does not use it the way it should. You are also more likely to have type 2 diabetes if you are overweight or if someone else in your family has the disease. It is more common in adults but can also happen in children. In recent years, more children have type 2 diabetes due to the rise of childhood obesity.
The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are very similar. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Being more thirsty or hungry than normal
- Urinating (peeing) more than normal
- Blurry vision
- Crankiness or being easily irritated
- Being very tired
- Unexplained weight loss (symptom of type 1 diabetes)
- Tingling, pain or feeling numb in your hands and feet (symptom of type 2 diabetes)