People with diabetes have too much glucose - sugar - in their blood. Glucose is a form of sugar. It...
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People with diabetes have too much glucose - sugar - in their blood. Glucose is a form of sugar. It is formed from the breakdown of foods we eat, especially carbohydrates. After a meal, it is absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream. Normally, the glucose binds to receptors on cells in the pancreas, which triggers the cells to release a hormone called insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin allows the glucose to be transported from the blood into cells for use as fuel. Cells have an outer wall, or membrane, which controls what goes in and out of the cell. Insulin binds to receptors on the cell membrane. This activates protein molecules on the membrane that allow the glucose to enter the cell. The cells can then use glucose as energy to carry out their functions. In people with type 1 diabetes, no insulin is produced in response to blood glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin but their bodies don't use it properly. Without insulin, the cells can't easily access the calories in the glucose. So even if a person eats a lot of food, their cells may be starving. And high blood sugar - called hyperglycemia - can have serious complications if it occurs for an extended period of time. It can result in damage to the kidneys, nerves, heart, and eyes. Very high blood sugar is a medical emergency.