Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that affect the body’s ability to use blood sugar for energy. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the United States, or 8.3% of the population.
People with diabetes experience blood glucose levels that are higher than usual, although the reason for this varies depending on the type of diabetes.
Blood glucose and insulin
Normally, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin, which controls blood sugar levels. When you eat, the glucose (sugar) in your food triggers the pancreas to release insulin, which directs glucose into your cells to be used as energy.
In people with diabetes, the body either does not produce insulin or does not effectively respond to insulin. Glucose isn’t moved into the cells and instead builds up in the blood, which can lead to serious health consequences, including heart disease, high blood pressure, nerve damage, vision complications, and skin impairments.