Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Explained
Diabetes is a disorder that affects the way your body uses digested food to maintain health, growth and energy.
Normally, the food you eat is broken down into glucose, which is a type of sugar. It becomes the major source of energy for your body. This glucose is carried in your bloodstream to be used by your cells for growth and energy.
But if your body doesn't have enough of a hormone called insulin, the glucose in your blood can't reach your cells. Insulin is naturally produced by your pancreas, which is a gland about the size of your hand, located behind your stomach.
If you have type 2 diabetes your pancreas may not produce enough insulin. That means your fat, muscle, and liver cells can't use the glucose effectively and it builds up in your blood. The glucose must go somewhere, so it overflows into your urine and passes out of your body.
When that happens, your body is left without its main source of fuel.
According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, more than 20 million people in the United States have diabetes. Of those people, 14.6 million are diagnosed by a doctor, but 6.2 million are undiagnosed and may not know they have diabetes.
Ninety to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a very serious illness. In fact, diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure, limb amputation, and blindness in American adults.
People with diabetes are also two to four times more likely than people without diabetes to develop heart disease.
Pre-diabetes is also a serious condition. It's also called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG). Having pre-diabetes means your the level of glucose in your blood glucose are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.
But pre-diabetes means you're at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Your doctor can test you to see if you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
About the Author: D.L. Shearer is a nonfiction writer. She has published articles online and in print on topics such as health, family and politics. Diabetes is common in her family. To learn more about diabetes and the factors that put you at risk of diabetes, visit The Diabetes Pages.