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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body turns glucose — a form of sugar — into energy. Our bodies use glucose for fuel.
Normally, the body releases a hormone called insulin when glucose is in the blood stream. Insulin takes the glucose (sugar) into the cells where it is either used as energy or stored.
In someone with diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use the insulin properly and too much glucose remains in the blood. Over time, high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) can cause more serious problems.
The three most common types of diabetes include type 1, type 2, and gestational.
|Type||Who's at Risk||How it Happens|
|Type 1 Diabetes||More common in children and young adults. However, it can occur at any age.||In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. Glucose is unable to get into the cells, so the glucose level in the blood goes up. When the glucose level rises above normal, a person has high blood glucose, or hyperglycemia.|
|Type 2 Diabetes||See risk factors for type 2 diabetes, below.||In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, but the insulin doesn't work right, or the cells can't take in the glucose. The glucose level in the blood goes up. A person then has high blood glucose, or hyperglycemia.|
|Gestational Diabetes||Women who are pregnant.||Because of the hormonal changes in pregnancy, sometimes the pancreas does not make enough insulin. After pregnancy, gestational diabetes often goes away; however, some women may get diabetes in the future. Have your blood glucose checked often if you had gestational diabetes in the past.|
Risk factors increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
People who tend to get type 2 diabetes:
A person with type 2 diabetes may have some or none of the following symptoms: