What is Diabetes?

March 3, 2022

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a medical condition that means you have too much sugar, or what is known as glucose, in your blood. Sugar travels in your blood to all the cells in your body. In response, your body makes a hormone called insulin to help the sugar move from your blood into your cells. Your cells need sugar to give you energy and keep you healthy.

If you or someone you love suffers from diabetes, you’re not alone. More than 34 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes, that’s a little over 1 in every 10 people. And over the past few years, new diagnosed cases of diabetes have significantly increased among American youth. It is the seventh leading cause of death in this country.

Unfortunately, diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you can still live a healthy lifestyle with diabetes.

The Basics

There are two types of diabetes:

  • Diabetes Type 1: Often diagnosed in children and young adults, this means that your body cannot make insulin. To treat Type 1, you must inject insulin to control your blood sugar.
  • Diabetes Type 2: This typically starts with adults and is more common if you are overweight or have a family member who also has diabetes. If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin but does not use that insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. This can be controlled by balancing when and how you eat with exercise, a healthy weight and medication.

The following are typical symptoms of diabetes, but it is important to note that some people with Type 2 diabetes have such mild symptoms, they are hard to monitor:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss - even though you are eating more (Type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (Type 2)
How to Manage Your Diabetes
  1. Stay connected with your ACCESS care team to help monitor your symptoms and blood sugar.
  2. Exercise and proper nutrition help control blood glucose levels. 
  3. Understand how different foods affect your blood glucose and learn how to plan and prepare nutritious meals.

Click here for more information on healthy eating with diabetes.

And for tips on how to monitor your glucose, review this health resource here.

Access Community Health Network (ACCESS)

If you have any questions, think you may have symptoms, or have already been diagnosed but need help managing your diabetes, Make An Appointment


As of March 28, 2023