Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition where the body cannot properly use and store the fuel (sugar) taken from the foods we eat. Insulin is needed to help the body use the sugar for energy. When a person has diabetes, the pancreas either does not produce or produces very little insulin (type 1 diabetes), or cannot use the insulin that is produced (type 2 diabetes). When insulin is not available, the sugar from food stays in the bloodstream causing blood sugars to rise. Diabetics have a problem with hyperglycemia (blood glucose levels that are too high) and hypoglycemia (when glucose levels fall too low).
Diabetes can affect anyone at any age at any time
The goal of diabetes treatment is to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Ideal ranges are 80 to 120 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before meals and 100 to 140 mg/dL at bedtime. Left untreated, diabetes leads to devastating damage to blood vessels, nerves and other internal structures.
Researchers have not yet discovered a cure for diabetes. For the time being, we can only do our best to control the disease with careful management and treatment. A person with diabetes will need to have close medical follow-up throughout his or her life to control blood glucose levels and to prevent serious complications.