Diabetes is a disease in which the glucose (sugar) levels in the blood are very high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter cells to supply them with energy. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the most common, the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Without enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood.
Over time, too much glucose in the blood can cause serious problems. It can damage eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke, and the need to amputate a limb. Pregnant women can also develop diabetes, called gestational diabetes.
A blood test can show if you have diabetes. A type of test, the A1c, can also check how you are managing your diabetes. Exercise, weight control and respecting the meal plan can help control diabetes. You should also check your blood glucose level and, if you have a prescription, take medication.