Control Diabetes to Goal


There are 17 million people in the United States who have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin.  Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other foods into energy needed for daily life.  The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, which usually occurs during childhood or adolescence, Type 2, the most common form of the disease, usually occurring after age 45; and gestational diabetes, which usually occurs halfway through a pregnancy as a result of excessive hormone production in the body.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that results from the body's failure to produce insulin–the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to make enough or to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Often type 2 diabetes can be controlled through losing weight, improved nutrition and exercise alone, but many people may need oral medications and/or insulin to control their diabetes.

What is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.  It is estimated that at least 16 million Americans have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 17 million with diabetes.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of insulin resistance that usually occurs halfway through a pregnancy as a result of excessive hormone production in the body, or the pancreas' inability to make the additional insulin that is needed during some pregnancies in women with no previous history of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, but women who have had gestational diabetes are at an increased risk for later developing type 2 diabetes.


Researchers have identified a small percentage of diabetes cases that result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, chemicals, drugs, malnutrition, infections, viruses and other illnesses.


Often diabetes goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless.  Recent studies indicate the early detection and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes.  Some of the signs are:

- frequent urination
- excessive thirst
- extreme hunger
- unusual weight loss
- excessive fatigue
- irritability
- blurry vision


Diabetes can affect many parts of your body, including your heart, eyes, feet, and kidneys.

Genetics of Diabetes

You've probably wondered how you get diabetes.  You may worry that your children will get it too.  Unlike some traits, diabetes does not seem to be inherited in a simple pattern.  Yet clearly, some people are born more likely to get diabetes than others.

If you have diabetes...

You and your doctor, diabetes educator, and other members of your health care team should work to keep your blood glucose at ideal levels. There are two powerful reasons to work for effective blood glucose control:

1. You will feel better.
2. You may prevent or delay the start of diabetes complications such as nerve, eye, kidney, and blood vessel damage.