What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that affects about 24 million U.S. adults and children. Diabetes can affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, blood vessels, gums and feet, and can even cause death. Early detection, education and treatment can save your life.

Signs of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. Insulin is needed to allow sugar to enter cells and produce energy. Although type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children, different factors such as genetics and viruses maybe yield a diagnosis in adults. Type 1 diabetes treatment includes sustaining adequate blood sugar levels with insulin and healthy diet. Symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and irritability

Type 2 diabetes

Types 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar. With type 2, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin to sustain a normal glucose level or resists the effects of insulin. Symptoms include:

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
  • Many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and causes high blood sugar, affecting your baby’s health. By eating healthy foods, taking medication and exercising frequently, expectant woman can help control their gestational diabetes. Symptoms include:

  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Frequent bladder, vaginal and skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Sugar in urine (tested for at your doctor’s office)


Prediabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet in the type 2 diabetes range. People with prediabetes have difficulty making enough insulin after eating and the long-term damage to the heart, kidneys and blood vessels may already be starting. With a healthy diet and consistent physical activity, those with prediabetes can bring their blood sugar level back to normal. Symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision