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Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes

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Diabetes health tip

Diabetes: Sorting fact from fiction
Diabetes is a serious illness. To help contain this leading cause of disability and death, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.

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How diabetes affects your body

There are several types of diabetes. Type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes are the three most common types.

  • If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas makes very little or no insulin. Your body needs insulin to move glucose from your blood into your cells for energy.
  • If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas still produces some insulin, but your body does not use it like it should. This is called insulin resistance.
  • If you have gestational diabetes, your pancreas does not make the extra insulin that is needed during pregnancy.

Without insulin working correctly in your body, the glucose from your food stays in your blood. Instead of glucose moving into your cells, it builds up in your blood.

You may have the following symptoms:

  • increased thirst
  • frequent urination
  • less energy
  • unexplained weight loss
  • dry skin
  • blurred vision
  • hunger
  • frequent yeast infections
  • sores that do not heal.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, fifth edition, ISBN 1-931876-32-0

First published: 12/01/2006
Last updated: 10/25/2011

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts