From: Diabetes Clearinghouse a service of the NIDDK
 

What Diabetes Is - Diabetes means that your blood glucose (often called blood sugar) is too high. Your blood always has some glucose in it because your body needs glucose for energy to keep you going. But too much glucose in the blood isn't good for your health. Glucose comes from the food you eat and is also made in your liver and muscles. Your blood carries the glucose to all the cells in your body. Insulin is a chemical (a hormone) made by the pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin helps the glucose from food get into your cells. If your body doesn't make enough insulin or if the insulin doesn't work the way it should, glucose can't get into your cells. It stays in your blood instead. Your blood glucose level then gets too high, causing pre-diabetes or diabetes.

What are the signs of diabetes?
The signs of diabetes [include] are being very thirsty, urinating often, feeling very hungry or tired, losing weight without trying, having sores that heal slowly, having dry, itchy skin, losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet, having blurry eyesight. You may have had one or more of these signs before you found out you had diabetes. Or you may have had no signs at all. A blood test to check your glucose levels will show if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
What is pre-diabetes? - Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. The good news is if you have pre-diabetes, you can reduce your risk of getting diabetes. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes and even return to normal glucose levels.

National Institutes of Health NIH http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/type1and2/what.htm#3
For More Information: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
1 Information Way Bethesda, MD 208923560
Phone: 18008608747 Fax: 7037384929
Email: ndic@info.niddk.nih.gov   NIDDK is part of NIH

The Health Library at Peninsula Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a free e-mail diabetes research list; and a Diabetic Retinopathy pac of information.  Get more information.

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