Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) is a group of disorders that affect metabolism, or the way the body processes food for energy. Almost everything we eat is broken down into glucose (a form of sugar used for energy) and gets into our bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that tells cells in the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells do not use the insulin the pancreas produces. When there isn’t enough insulin in the body, the cells can’t take up the glucose adequately and use fat as an alternative energy source. This can be toxic, and the unutilized glucose causes high blood sugar.
There are three main varieties of diabetes, depending on why the glucose isn’t taken up by body cells:
- Type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disorder where the immune system tries to destroy the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Not enough insulin is made. This accounts for only 5-10% of cases, and the cause is unknown.
- Type 2 diabetes – a metabolic (the way the body digests food for energy) disorder where the cells don’t absorb glucose because the body can’t make enough insulin or the cells do not respond to the insulin. This accounts for 90-95% of cases, and may be caused by lifestyle and dietary habits.
- Gestational diabetes – a condition where the glucose levels in the blood are elevated in pregnant women. This is caused when pregnancy hormones reduce the effectiveness of insulin, so the cells do not absorb as much glucose. After birth, the blood sugar levels normalize.
Affecting about 25.8 million patients in the United States (American Diabetes Association/CDC), diabetes can cause serious complications if not treated and managed.
Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute helps patients get the medical care, education and support they need to achieve the highest level of wellness. We use the latest technology and treatments, and our diabetes education program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association. Florida Hospital Diabetes institute is consistently ranked among the top diabetes institutes in America.
Get the help you need to avoid serious health complications and live you’re most healthy life.