What's diabetes?

insulin and glucose cell diagram

Insulin acts as a key that allows blood sugar (glucose) to enter the body’s cells, where it can be burned for fuel or stored. But in some people, the key can’t open the lock.

To compensate for that “insulin resistance,” the pancreas pumps out more and more insulin, but it’s not enough to keep blood sugar from creeping up to “prediabetes” levels. After years of straining to keep up, the pancreas starts to fail and blood sugar reaches the “diabetes” range.

(That’s type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys the pancreas’s ability to make insulin. Type 1 accounts for about 5 percent of diabetes.)

Do you have diabetes?

Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes? Take the American Diabetes Association's 60-second quiz to find out if you should get tested.

Hemoglobin A1c, a long-term measure of blood sugar, is the easiest way to test for diabetes.

diabetes A1c diagram
designua - stock.adobe.com.

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