Diabetes Symptoms
  Diabetes Causes
  Type 1 or Type 2?
  Impaired Glucose Tolerance
  Diabetes Risk Factors
  Diabetes Management
    Islet Cell Transplant
  Diabetic Complications
  Diabetes Opinions
  Diabetes Cure
About Diabetes
  Diabetic Diet
  Regulating Insulin
  Resources for Diabetics

What is Diabetes? Will I Need Insulin?

Every cell in the body requires energy to perform its functions. One of the primary fuels the body uses to supply energy to cells is glucose, a sugar produced in the body from food sources. Without glucose, the cell runs out of energy and dies.

After eating, the level of blood sugar rises. A special molecule called insulin is required to transfer the sugar from the blood into the cells for the production of energy.

Located in the pancreas are some special cells called the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans. These are the cells that produce insulin.

In a non-diabetic person, the beta cells secrete insulin when blood sugar rises, and when the blood sugar level drops the production of insulin stops.

Diabetes causes a disruption in the way the body uses glucose. The beta cells of a type 1 diabetic produce little or no insulin causing blood sugar to rise to a dangerous level.

Most people with diabetes have type 2. In fact, roughly 90 percent of the 17 million diabetics in the US are type 2. In type 2 diabetes, insulin production may be normal but the body does not respond to it. Glucose cannot be used optimally, leading to high blood sugar levels.

A person with glucose intolerance has blood sugar levels somewhere between those of a normal person and a diabetic person. Testing blood sugar levels is critical. Meters make managing diabetes easier.

This section is divided into multiple articles covering:

To research other topics associated with diabetes or other health issues, please use the morefocus search tool below, or see the related topics listed to the left.

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