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What is diabetes? Diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. Glucose comes from the food we eat. An organ called the pancreas (PAN-kree-as) makes insulin (IN-suh-lin). Insulin helps glucose get from your blood into your cells. Cells take the glucose and turn it into energy.

When you have diabetes, your body has a problem making or properly using insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in your blood and cannot get into your cells. If the blood glucose stays too high, it can damage your body. What are the symptoms of diabetes? Common symptoms of diabetes include: • Having to urinate often. • Being very thirsty. • Feeling very hungry or tired. • Losing weight without trying. But many people with diabetes have no symptoms at all. Why should I be concerned about diabetes? Diabetes is a very serious disease. Do not be misled by phrases that suggest diabetes is not a serious disease, such as “a touch of sugar,” “borderline diabetes,” or “my blood glucose is a little bit high.” Diabetes can lead to other serious health problems. When high levels of glucose in the blood are not controlled, they can slowly damage your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and feet.