Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce or does not properly use insulin. Insulin is the hormone that converts sugar, starches and other foods into glucose, the energy needed to fuel the body. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the reasons may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.
The cause of diabetes is unknown; however it is thought that genetics and other factors (e.g. obesity and lack of exercise) may be involved. There are four different types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes 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.
Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency.
Gestational diabetes occurs immediately after pregnancy, and may result in type 2 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.
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