Diabetes is a disease characterized by elevated blood sugar (glucose). This can be caused by defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to many complications, including heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage and amputations; these may result in premature death.
Diabetes is very common in the US where it affects more than 34 million (about 1 in 10) people. The most common type of diabetes is type 2 (9 out 10 people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes). Cells of people who have type 2 diabetes don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Their pancreas then makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually the pancreas can’t keep up, and blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. For additional facts about diabetes, please see the National Diabetes Fact Sheet prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.