Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.

Diabetes is becoming more and more common among Americans.  In the U.S. 29.1 million children and adults, or 9.3% of the population, have diabetes.  86 million Americans age 20 and older have prediabetes.  It is also a very costly disease with annual costs in the U.S. totaling approximately $245 billion (2012).  Medical expenditures were 2.3 times higher for those with diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.  In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin.  Insulin is the hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

If you or your child has any of the following symptoms, you should consult a physician:

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


Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  In this form, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is needed to break down all of the sugars and starches that you eat into glucose, which is the basic fuel for cells in the body.  When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, you begin to see complications.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should consult a physician:

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder

*often people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms.

Who is at greater risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

  • If you are over age 45
  • If you have a family history of diabetes
  • If you are overweight
  • If you do not exercise regularly
  • If you have low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure

Source:  American Diabetes Association

Local Diabetic Resources:

CHI St. Joseph Health:

Living Well with Diabetes Program- Free comprehensive diabetes education class.  Click here to view the class schedule and registration information.