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Diabetes can strike anyone, from any walk of life. And it does – in numbers that are dramatically increasing. Today, more than 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. Worldwide, more than 422 million people have diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition that causes higher than normal blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs when your body cannot make or effectively use its own insulin, a hormone made by special cells in the pancreas called islets (eye-lets). Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the sugar (glucose) from the food you eat to enter. Then, your body uses that glucose for energy. But with diabetes, several major things can go wrong to cause diabetes. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease, but there are also other kinds, such as gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, as well as other forms.

Diabetes Freedom is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Insulin produced by the pancreas lowers blood glucose. Absence or insufficient production of insulin, or an inability of the body to properly use insulin causes diabetes. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 and type 2. Former names for these conditions were insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, or juvenile onset and adult-onset diabetes. Some of the risk factors for getting diabetes include being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle, a family history of diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and low levels of the “good” cholesterol (HDL) and elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood.

Here’s what you need to know about type 1 diabetes. The CDC estimates that nearly 1.6 million Americans have it, including about 187,000 children and adolescents. Type 1 diabetes occurs at every age, in people of every race, and of every shape and size. There is no shame in having it, and you have a community of people ready to support you. Learning as much as you can about it and working closely with your diabetes care team can give you everything you need to thrive.

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