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What is Diabetes?

Whether you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with diabetes for some time, you probably know that it's a disease that's sometimes difficult to understand. There are many misconceptions about diabetes, and many old wives' tales about its causes and treatments.

But these days, we know a great deal more about this disease... what causes it, who's most at risk, how it can be treated—and, in the case of type 2 diabetes—how it can be prevented. You can live well with diabetes if you understand more about it, and that includes a better understanding of insulin, one of our body's hormones.

Diabetes is a disease in which your body is not able to control the amount (or level) of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This may happen because:

  • your pancreas doesn't produce any insulin
  • your pancreas produces insulin but not enough
  • your body resists the action of insulin

When your blood glucose level remains high for long periods of time, damage can be done to your heart, your eyes, and your kidneys.