What is Diabetes?

The disease if left untreated, can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, erectile dysfunction, heart attack, amputation of limbs, and even death.

From the Centers for Disease Control (2011):

"Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes, working together with their support network and their health care providers, can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications.”

Types of Diabetes:
"Type 1 diabetes was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, the only cells in the body that make the hormone insulin that regulates blood glucose. To survive, people with type 1 diabetes must have insulin delivered by injection or a pump. This form of diabetes usually strikes children and young adults, although disease onset can occur at any age. In adults, type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Risk factors for type 1 diabetes may be autoimmune, genetic, or environmental. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Several clinical trials for preventing type 1 diabetes are currently in progress or are being planned.

Type 2 diabetes was previously called non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes. In adults, type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. It usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce it. Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes and its complications. Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, although still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently among American Indians, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Asians/Pacific Islanders.

Gestational diabetes is a form of glucose intolerance diagnosed during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs more frequently among African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and American Indians. It is also more common among obese women and women with a family history of diabetes. During pregnancy, gestational diabetes requires treatment to optimize maternal blood glucose levels to lessen the risk of complications in the infant.

Other types of diabetes result from specific genetic conditions (such as maturity-onset diabetes of youth), surgery, medications, infections, pancreatic disease, and other illnesses. Such types of diabetes account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases. “

Source: Centers for Disease Control. 2011. National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011.


  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95% of all diabetes cases. It used to only be found in adults but has rapidly increased among young adults and children, especially in urban and poor neighborhoods, and com-munities of color
  • 50% of African American youth, 33% of Latino youth and 25% of white youth born in the year 2000 will get type 2 diabetes in their lifetime
  • Since the start of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over 1000 Americans have all or part of their leg amputated due to injury. In that same time period, over 70,000 Californians have had all or part of their leg amputated as a result of diabetes

Risk Factors

  • 50 years ago, the average American consumed about 20 lbs. of sugar and corn sweetener in a year. That number has risen to almost 130 lbs


Additional Resources