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After a meal, your body breaks down food and drink into proteins, fats and a form of sugar called glucose. Glucose stays in your blood stream until it is absorbed by cells throughout the body. Glucose gives cells the energy they need to fuel your organs and muscles.
Insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas) helps cells absorb glucose. Without it, glucose stays in the bloodstream and cells starve.
When a person has diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin, none at all, or the insulin it does make can’t be used effectively. As a result, blood glucose levels rise out of control and cause serious health issues.
Diabetes takes a toll on your:
Although diabetes can’t be cured, medication, eating healthy, staying active and working closely with your doctor can lower its affect so you can live well.
Here are some additional resources to help you better understand the disease.
Originally published 3/11/2016; Revised 2019, 2021
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