Understand diabetes and how diabetes affects you and your blood sugar


Learn how diabetes affects you and your blood sugar

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Controlling your blood sugar is an essential part of managing your diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you are certainly not alone. Diabetes affects more than 29 million people in the United States and approximately 415 million people worldwide. Although diabetes is a very common diagnosis, managing your disease is a very personal experience. Learning about your diabetes and treatment options such as insulin can help.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where your blood sugar can be higher than normal because:

  • Your pancreas makes little, not enough, or no insulin, or
  • Your body prevents the insulin you do make from working correctly

What does this mean?

If you have diabetes, sugar can’t get into your cells and it stays in your blood. This causes your blood sugar to stay too high (also called hyperglycemia).

Both high and low blood sugar can result in serious complications.

Follow your health care provider's recommendation about the best time of day to check your blood sugar. Once you get a little practice checking your blood sugar, it will become part of your routine.

Words to know


A condition that occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are too high. Symptoms of hyperglycemia may include having to urinate often and being very thirsty.


A hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Lack of insulin production can cause diabetes.

Treating type 2 diabetes

Every person with diabetes is different.

You and your health care provider may be able to work together to manage your disease in the following ways:

  • Diet and exercise
  • Diabetes pills
  • Noninsulin injection
  • Insulin (basal and/or bolus)

Starting insulin

Even if you have been managing your diabetes well, there may come a time when you need to add insulin to your treatment plan. Moving to insulin is not a sign of failure. The truth is, many people with type 2 diabetes may need to take insulin at some point. This is a common progression of diabetes, and one that you and your health care provider can discuss in greater detail. 

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Tips for managing your diabetes

Now that you understand diabetes a little better, you and your health care provider can form a plan to reach your goal, one step at a time. 

Learn how