Diabetes: What is it and how does it affect the body?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just over 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Understanding diabetes and how it affects your body is important for recognizing the symptoms and knowing how to manage the condition.

Rachel Rocha, PharmD, CDE, and Chuck Riepenhoff, RPh, CDE, ProMedica Diabetes and Nutrition Education Services, explain that diabetes causes a breakdown in the way our body distributes sugar, which is needed for energy.

“Our pancreas makes insulin. Insulin is responsible for helping our body get sugar out of the blood and get to where it needs to go in the body so it can turn into energy for us,” says Riepenhoff.

“However, with diabetes, there’s a breakdown in that process,” explains Rocha. “So the sugar does not go from the blood to the muscles, tissues and cells. Instead, it builds up in the blood. And over time, it can create some issues for your body.”

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications such as kidney disease, an increased risk of heart events such as stroke or heart attack, and can even cause permanent damage to the eyes.

Learn more about the basics of diabetes from Rocha and Riepenhoff in the video below.

For more information about diabetes care, visit ProMedica’s website.