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What is Diabetes

Diabetes currently affects 246 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025.1 Even though diabetes affects nearly 4% of the world’s population,2 many people know very little about the disease.

There are 2 primary types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that create insulin. As a result, the body makes very little or no insulin of its own. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body cannot properly use the insulin it does create. Eventually, the pancreas may stop producing insulin altogether. Type 2 diabetes can affect people at any age. In both men and women, the more overweight an individual is, the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.3

1 International Diabetes Federation. Did you know? Available at: Accessed October 16, 2008.
2 US Census Bureau. World Population Clock Projection. Available at: Accessed October 16, 2008. Estimated world population is 6.8 billion.
3 International Diabetes Federation. Fact Sheet Diabetes and Obesity. Available at: Accessed November 13, 2008.


A hormone produced in the beta cells in the pancreas. The body uses insulin to let glucose enter cells, where it is used for energy.

Now known as type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin or extremely small amounts. People with type 1 need to take insulin injections in order to live.

Now known as type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin or extremely small amounts. People with type 1 need to take insulin injections in order to live.


Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, occurs when blood sugar rises above your recommended range. Your healthcare professional will determine the proper healthy blood sugar range for you.

High blood sugar can be caused by many things, including:

  • Eating too much food
  • Little or no physical activity
  • Not taking medications
  • Stress, infection or illness
  • Bad or spoiled insulin

High blood sugar can cause serious problems and a major cause of long-term diabetes complications. Warning signs of high blood sugar include:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth or skin
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores
  • Unexplained weight loss

It is important to keep your blood sugar level within your target range. Checking your blood sugar often may helpyou avoid hyperglycemia.


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During fasting people with diabetes need to take special precautions to manage blood glucose levels and aim at avoiding hypoglycemia during the day and hyperglycemia at night. Find useful information with regards to this topic in the fasting section.

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