- Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose).
- Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues.
- It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.
- If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ.
- Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.
- Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
- Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes — when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes — and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.
- To understand diabetes, first you must understand how glucose is normally processed in the body.
How Insulin works:
- Insulin is a hormone that comes from a gland situated behind and below the stomach (pancreas).
- The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream.
- The insulin circulates, enabling sugar to enter your cells.
- Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.
- As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
The Role of Glucose:
- Glucose — a sugar — is a source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues.
- Glucose comes from two major sources: food and your liver.
- Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin.
- Your liver stores and makes glucose.
- When your glucose levels are low, such as when you haven’t eaten in a while, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose level within a normal range.