What Is Diabetes? Understanding Diabetes | Cornerstones4Care®

Understanding Diabetes

Managing diabetes starts with understanding it. From diabetes basics to treatment, the facts you need to know are right here. You’ll find details on these topics and more:

  • The types of diabetes
  • The risks and symptoms
  • Getting diagnosed
  • Choosing your diabetes care team
  • How to stay on track with your diabetes care 

What is diabetes? And why does it happen?

Diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin, makes no insulin at all, or doesn’t respond to insulin properly. To understand diabetes, you need to know what insulin is and why your body needs it.

  • Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar into your body’s cells for energy
  • Your cells need energy for almost every job your body does
Breaking Down Diabetes - Ep. 1: 
What Is Diabetes?

Watch Michael Stevens explain how blood sugar is used for energy and the important role insulin plays in your body.

How eating is related to diabetes

First, here's what happens with sugar:

  • When you eat, some of your food is broken down into sugar
  • Sugar enters your blood
  • Then it travels in your blood to all your body's cells. Your body needs the sugar for energy

Next, here's what happens with insulin:

  • Insulin is a hormone made by the beta cells in your pancreas
  • Insulin acts like a key to help unlock cells and let the sugar in to provide energy
  • When sugar moves out of the blood and into the cells, the amount of sugar in your blood goes down

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

In type 1 diabetes:

  • Your pancreas makes little or no insulin, due to an overactive autoimmune system

In type 2 diabetes:

  • Your body prevents the insulin it does make from working right (known as insulin resistance)
  • Your body may make some insulin but not enough

NEXT: Learn more about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 

Get personalized diabetes support with Cornerstones4Care®

What is Diabetes?

What is diabetes? Watch a video about how diabetes affects the body.