What is Diabetes?

If there isn’t enough insulin or if its function is impaired, as it is the case in diabetes, the glucose cannot be used as fuel for the cells.

Diabetes is a chronic, incurable disease that occurs when the body doesn’t produce any or enough insulin, leading to an excess of sugar in the blood. Insulin is a hormone, produced by the pancreas, which helps the cells of the body use the glucose (sugar) in food. Cells need this energy in order to function properly.

Sugar builds up in the bloodstream and is excreted in the urine.

Eventually, the high blood sugar caused by excessive amounts of glucose in the blood leads to a variety of complications, particularly for the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

There are different types of diabetes: prediabetes, type 1, type 2, gestational (pregnancy) diabetes and other types.

Research and writing: Team of Diabetes Quebec Health Professionals.

May 2014 (updated on July 2018)

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