Helping people with diabetes live better, one healthy decision at a time.

About Diabetes

About Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute complications can include diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, or death. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes.

Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. There are three main types of diabetes mellitus:

  • Type 1 DM
    results from the pancreas's failure to produce enough insulin due to loss of beta cells. This form was previously referred to as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM) or "juvenile diabetes". The cause is unknown. 

  • Type 2 DM
    begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop. This form was previously referred to as "non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes". The most common cause is excessive body weight and insufficient exercise.

  • Gestational diabetes
    is the third main form, and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels.

Prevention and treatment involve maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical exercise, a normal body weight, and avoiding use of tobacco. Control of blood pressure and maintaining proper foot care are important for people with the disease. Type 1 DM must be managed with insulin injections. Type 2 DM may be treated with medications with or without insulin. Insulin and some oral medications can cause low blood sugar. Weight loss surgery in those with obesity is sometimes an effective measure in those with type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the birth of the baby.

As of 2015, an estimated 415 million people had diabetes worldwide, with type 2 DM making up about 90% of the cases. This represents 8.3% of the adult population, with equal rates in both women and men. As of 2014, trends suggested the rate would continue to rise. Diabetes at least doubles a person's risk of early death. From 2012 to 2015, approximately 1.5 to 5.0 million deaths each year resulted from diabetes. The global economic cost of diabetes in 2014 was estimated to be US$612 billion. In the United States, diabetes cost $245 billion in 2012.

Signs and symptoms

The classic symptoms of untreated diabetes are:

  • weight loss

  • polyuria (increased urination)

  • polydipsia (increased thirst)

  • polyphagia (increased hunger)

Symptoms may develop rapidly (weeks or months) in type 1 DM, while they usually develop much more slowly and may be subtle or absent in type 2 DM.

Several other signs and symptoms can mark the onset of diabetes although they are not specific to the disease. In addition to the known ones above, they include:

  • blurry vision

  • headache

  • fatigue

  • slow healing of cuts

  • itchy skin

Prolonged high blood glucose can cause glucose absorption in the lens of the eye, which leads to changes in its shape, resulting in vision changes. A number of skin rashes that can occur in diabetes are collectively known as diabetic dermadromes.

Symptom Of Diabetes
Diabetes Quick Facts

Diabetes Quick Facts

Overweight or Obese Adults

65% of American Adults are either Overweight or Obese

Overweight or Obese Children 

1 out of 3 Kids are either Overweight or Obese

People with High Blood Pressure

2.5 times more likely to develop Type II Diabetes

People on High-Sugar Low Fiber Diets

2.5 times at Risk for developing Type II Diabetes

Family History

People with a family history of diabetes have 5:1 odds they too will develop Diabetes


Diabetes is growing fast among Blacks and Hispanics. Prevalence of diabetes among African Americans is about 70% higher than among white Americans. 

  • 41 Million Africans American in the US

  • 44 Million Hispanics in the US

  • 23 Million Latino Americans in the US

  • 2 Million American Indians in the US


The majority of people with diabetes are age 45+

Undiagnosed Diabetes

Currently there are 6.2MM undiagnosed people with diabetes in the US


Currently 57 Million Americans have pre-diabetes

Diabetes Type 1
Diabetes Type 2