The key to understanding diabetes is having a good idea of how the body works and what changes when you have diabetes. Once you know how diabetes "works" in its various types, it's easier to see how complications can arise, and why insulin therapy and blood glucose monitoring are important.
We'll start by learning how our bodies convert the food we eat into the energy we need to live. During digestion, our bodies break down food into three basic groups:
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (also known as "blood sugar"), which is the "fuel" that gives our bodies energy. For blood sugar to get into the body's cells, the help of a hormone called "insulin" is required.
Diabetes is caused by a problem with the body's ability to use insulin.
If insulin isn't being used properly, then blood sugar can't get into the cells and it backs up in the bloodstream. The body tries to get rid of the excess sugar through the urine.