Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body can’t use glucose (a type of sugar) normally. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. The levels of glucose in the blood are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made by the pancreas. Insulin helps glucose to enter the cells.
Diabetes is caused when there is resistance to, or deficient production of insulin, which helps glucose move from the blood into the body’s cells. When the body does not produce or use enough insulin, the cells cannot use the glucose for energy and the blood glucose level rises. This means that the body will instead start to break down its own fat and muscle for energy.1
Globally, there has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of diabetes. It is estimated that if the current world wide trend prevails, there will be 380 million people affected by diabetes by the year 2025.2 Even though diabetes affects nearly 4% of the world’s population,3 many people know very little about the disease.
There are 2 primary types of diabetes:
A hormone produced in the beta cells in the pancreas. The body uses insulin to let glucose enter cells, where it is used for energy.
Also known as type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin or extremely small amounts. People with type 1 need to take insulin injections in order to survive.
Now known as type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin or extremely small amounts. People with type 1 need to take insulin injections in order to survive.
Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnancy hormones and weight gain block a woman’s body's ability to use insulin properly. This type of diabetes can affect women who have never had diabetes. Gestational diabetes may affect as many as 7% of pregnant women.1
Gestational diabetes can lead to high blood pressure for the mother and high birth weight for the baby. Although this type of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, there is also an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes for both mother and baby in the future. Your baby may also be at higher risk of childhood obesity.2
These risks can be reduced by maintaining a reasonable weight, staying physically active and making healthy food choices. Breast-feeding may lower your baby’s risk for type 2 diabetes as well. See your healthcare professional to create a management plan that is right for you and your baby.
A condition in which high blood glucose levels develop during pregnancy in women who were not previously diabetic; diagnosed at 24-28 weeks gestation; levels usually return to normal after delivery, but mothers with gestational diabetes may be at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.