During digestion the starches and sugars in the food you eat are converted to glucose, a sugar that your body uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps control the amount of glucose in blood. Without insulin, your body cannot use or store glucose, so too much sugar stays in your blood. Over a long period of time, high blood sugar levels may damage blood vessels and nerves, increasing your risk for problems that can affect the eyes, heart, kidneys, legs, and feet.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence but can develop at any age. People with type 1 diabetes must give themselves insulin shots every day.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to meet the body's needs or when the body does not use insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes often develops in adults, especially those who are overweight and over age 40. Many people with type 2 diabetes are able to control their blood sugar through regular physical activity, healthful eating, frequent self-testing of blood sugar, and maintaining a healthful weight. Some may need insulin shots or oral medications to lower their blood sugar.
Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to helping you and your family with information about diabetes. Below are some resources that we think you will find helpful. You can pick-up additional pamphlets, brochures, videos or tip-sheets in any of our Health Education Centers.
- Alcohol & Diabetes
- Blood Glucose Monitoring
- Diabetes and Sexual Health (for Men)
- Diabetes Education Resources Guide for Members
- Diabetes Medications: How They Work
- Diets for Diabetics
- Eating Well with Diabetes and Carbohydrate Basics
- Personal Diabetes Record
- Testing Your Own Blood Sugar
- Building Healthy Meals