With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should.
Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help. Taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and support, and keeping health care appointments can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.
Diabetes by the Numbers
- 34.2 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.
- Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported).
- Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult blindness.
- In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled.
The Big Picture
- More than 88 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and more than 80% of them don’t know they have it.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in SC (2018).
- Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10%.
- In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.