Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. When you eat, your body breaks food down into sugar and releases it in your bloodstream. There, it travels to cells to be used for energy.
Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, acts as a key to help unlock cells and let sugar in to provide energy. Diabetes occurs when your body does not make enough insulin, makes no insulin at all, or doesn’t respond to insulin properly. As a result, sugar remains in the bloodstream, which over time can lead to a number of serious health issues.
Most people who have diabetes—up to 95%—have type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly. In type 1 diabetes, which accounts for 5-10% of diabetes cases, the body makes little to no insulin. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin every day to manage their disease.
Type 2 diabetes can be treated with diabetes pills, non-insulin injectables, insulin, or a combination of these medications, along with a healthy diet and exercise. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is possible to lead a full and active lifestyle when the disease is properly managed under the supervision of a diabetes care team.