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Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism--the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy Most of the food we eat is broken down by the digestive juices into a simple sugar called glucose Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body After digestion the glucose passes into our bloodstream where it is available for body cells to use for growth and energy For the glucose to get into the cells insulin must be present Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas a large gland behind the stomach When we eat the pancreas is supposed to automatically produce the right amount of insulin to move the glucose from our blood into our cells In people with diabetes however the pancreas either produces little or no insulin or the body cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced As a result glucose builds up in the blood overflows into the urine and passes out of the body Thus the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose The three main types of diabetes are Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes Type 2 diabetes The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes once known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or NIDDM About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes This form of diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 40 and is most common among adults over age 55 About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight In type 2 diabetes the pancreas usually produces insulin but for some reason the body cannot use the insulin effectively The end result is the same as for type 1 diabetes--an unhealthy buildup of glucose in the blood and an inability of the body to make efficient use of its main source of fuel The symptoms of type 2 diabetes
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