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Diabetes: The Basics

About Type 2 Diabetes

When you have type 2 diabetes, high levels of sugar build up in your blood. This can lead to serious health complications. That's why controlling your blood sugar is key to managing diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar under control lowers your risk for complications later. High blood sugar can harm your organs and raise your risk of heart disease.

Having type 2 diabetes means that your body doesn't make enough insulin, or doesn't properly use the insulin your body makes. Insulin is a hormone that is made in your pancreas. It helps your body's cells use sugar (also called glucose), which comes from foods and drinks. Sugar is a source of energy for cells.

This site focuses on type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. Typically, with type 2 diabetes, the body still makes insulin, but its cells can't use it. This is called insulin resistance. Over time, high levels of sugar build up in the bloodstream. Being overweight and inactive increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Other main types of diabetes include:

  • Type 1 diabetes, which often affects children (although adults can develop it, too). In this form of diabetes, the body can't make insulin. The immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that make and release insulin. As these cells die, blood sugar levels rise. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin shots.
  • Gestational diabetes, which occurs in some pregnant women. It can cause problems during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Women who get gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Life with type 2 diabetes
Managing type 2 diabetes means making some changes to how you live. Talk with your doctor about which changes are right for you. For example, it helps to:
  • Eat healthy, and lose weight if your doctor says you should
  • Be more active
  • Test your blood sugar regularly
  • Have your doctor check your A1C level (your average blood sugar over the past two to three months)
  • Take one or more diabetes medicines as prescribed by your doctor

Finding help on the web

No matter what disease, disorder, illness or condition you or family members are dealing with, there are other people who share your situation. The internet can provide information, resources, support groups, chat-rooms and so much more to help you with what you are going through and will give you a chance to share your experiences with others. You may also find information about local treatment options, support groups and treatments in your area.  Please take some time to explore the internet and keep checking those resources for updates that may help in your situation.

Disclaimer: The content in the program was developed by GlaxoSmithKline. This information is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice, nor is your doctor responsible for its content. You should promptly consult a medical professional if you have concerns about your health.

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