Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly
use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar,
starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause
of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and
environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to
are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8%
of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9
million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.7
million people (or nearly one quarter) are unaware that they have
order to determine whether or not a patient has pre-diabetes or
diabetes, health care providers conduct a Fasting Plasma Glucose
Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Either test can
be used to diagnose pre-diabetes or diabetes. The American Diabetes
Association recommends the FPG because it is easier, faster, and
less expensive to perform.
the FPG test, a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125
mg/dl signals pre-diabetes. A person with a fasting blood glucose
level of 126 mg/dl or higher has diabetes.
OGTT test, a person's blood glucose level is measured after a fast
and two hours after drinking a glucose-rich beverage. If the
two-hour blood glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl, the
person tested has pre-diabetes. If the two-hour blood glucose level
is at 200 mg/dl or higher, the person tested has diabetes.
Major Types of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that
"unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel
them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with
diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
Results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails
to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency.
Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
Immediately after pregnancy, 5% to 10% of women with gestational
diabetes are found to have diabetes, usually, type 2.
Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood
glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a
diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are 57 million Americans who
have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 23.6 million with diabetes.