Diabetes is a chronic condition caused by a lack of insulin, or the body’s inability to use insulin, resulting in the amount of sugar in your blood reaching very high levels. Insulin is the hormone that allows the cells of the body to transfer glucose from the blood. Without insulin, your body cannot obtain glucose or the energy it supplies.
The body is made of millions of cells. Each cell needs energy to do its work. Food that is eaten is a source of energy for the body. The stomach and intestines work to break food down into sugar and other nutrients that the body can absorb. Sugar, which in this case is glucose, is the fuel that the body uses to make energy. The body needs insulin to “open up” the cells to move the glucose into the cells.
The pancreas, a small organ near the stomach, makes insulin and sends it into the bloodstream. When the body senses a very small increase in sugar, the pancreas rapidly releases insulin into the bloodstream to control the rise in blood sugar, and guide the sugar into the cells. Insulin lowers the level of blood sugar by acting as a key to unlock the body’s cells and allowing sugar to pass from the bloodstream into the cells. The level of sugar in the bloodstream falls as the sugar passes into the cells. The body’s cells then use the sugar for fuel. Without insulin, the glucose cannot get into the cells.