Diabetes Education


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-it-us) is the medical name given to disorder of the regulation of blood glucose (also called "blood sugar") in the body.  The 2 major types of diabetes are T1D and T2D.

About Type 1 Diabetes

T1D is an autoimmune disease that strikes both children and adults at any age. It occurs when the body’s own immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas, and the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone people need to get energy from food. 

T1D strikes both children and adults, and its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.  There is currently nothing you can do to prevent it, and there is no cure. 

Beta cells produce insulin, which is an essential hormone needed by the body to obtain energy from food. The onset of T1D has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. T1D strikes suddenly, causes lifelong dependence on injected or pumped insulin, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.

About Type 2 Diabetes

T2D is a metabolic disease (also called "metabolic disorder") in which a person's body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively.  T2D is usually diagnosed in adulthood, but ehre is a growing number of cases of T2D in children due to an increase in childhood obesity.  T2D sometimes can be treated with diet and lifestyle interventions, as well as oral medications.  T2D does not always require injected or pumped insulin.  People with T2D are also at risk for devastating complications.

T1D and T2D Together

Together, T1D and T2D are the leading causes of kidney failure new cases of blindness, and non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among adults in the U.S.  T1D and T2D are also major causes of heart disease and stroke among adults in the U.S.   (Source:  Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Spokane, 2016)