In a healthy body, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin is essential for getting glucose into body tissues so it can be used for energy or stored for future use.
When diabetes occurs, three mechanisms may not be functioning:
- The pancreas may not be able to produce insulin.
- The pancreas may not be able to produce enough insulin to respond to the body’s needs.
- The pancreas may be producing some insulin but the body in unable to use this insulin properly. This is also known as insulin resistance.
As a result, people with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood. If left unchecked, the buildup of glucose may eventually damage organs including the eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart. By maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, people with diabetes can live long and healthy lives.