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Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. The body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

Type 2 diabetes

Results from insulin resistance, combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms can include:

However, because type 2 diabetes develops slowly, some people with high blood sugar experience no symptoms at all.

Type 1 diabetes

Results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms can include:

Patients with type 1 diabetes usually develop symptoms over a short period of time. The condition is often diagnosed in an emergency setting.

There is no cure for diabetes. Treatment involves medicines, diet, and exercise to control blood sugar and prevent symptoms. Different goals may be required for specific individuals, including pregnant women, very old and very young people, and those with accompanying serious medical conditions.