Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use
insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and
other food into energy needed for daily life.
The cause of diabetes continues to
be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity
and lack of exercise appear to
There are 18.2 million people in the United States, or 6.3% of the
population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 13 million have been diagnosed
with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.2 million people
(or nearly one-third) are
unaware that they have the disease.
Major types of diabetes are:
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. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes
have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes - Results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the
body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency.
Approximately 90-95% (17 million) of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes
have type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes - Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant
women - about 135,000 cases in the United States each year.
- 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. It is estimated that at least 20.1 million Americans have
pre-diabetes, in addition to the 18.2 million with diabetes.