Diabetes Care

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by issues with the body’s use of insulin. There are differing types of diabetes, classified on how the body responds to insulin, such as failing to secrete enough insulin not responding appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Since insulin is needed by the body to convert glucose into energy, these failures result in abnormally high levels of glucose accumulating in the blood. Diabetes may be a result of other conditions such as genetic syndromes, chemicals, drugs, malnutrition, infections, viruses, or other illnesses. Detroit Medical Center can help you manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, or think you may have diabetes, DMC can help you find a primary care physician who can help you diagnose, treat and monitor your condition. Diabetes is a life-threatening condition that, when properly managed, is easy to live with. For an appointment, a second opinion or more information, please call (888) DMC-2500.

More About Diabetes

For glucose to be able to move into the cells of the body, insulin must be present. Insulin is produced primarily in the pancreas, and is readily available to move glucose into the cells. This use of insulin is disrupted in persons with diabetes, making it difficult for their body to get energy. With diabetes, either the pancreas produces too little or no insulin or the cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, which the body passes into urine where it is eventually eliminated, leaving the body without its main source of fuel. The three main types of diabetes - type 1, type 2, and gestational - are all defined as metabolic disorders that affect the way the body metabolizes, or uses, digested food to make glucose, the main source of fuel for the body. Although the three main types of diabetes are similar in the build-up of blood glucose due to problems with insulin, there are differences in cause and treatment.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, resulting in no or a low amount of insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a result of the body's inability to make enough, or to properly use, insulin. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise and weight loss, and may require oral medications and/or insulin injections.

What is prediabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is commonly preceded by prediabetes. In prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. However, many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Prediabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with prediabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who have not had diagnosed diabetes in the past. It results in the inability to use the insulin that is present and usually disappears after delivery. Gestational diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise and attention to weight gain. Women with gestational diabetes may be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

Complications of Diabetes

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death among Americans, and the fifth leading cause of death from disease. Although it is believed that diabetes is under-reported as a condition leading to or causing death, each year more than 200,000 deaths are reported as being caused by diabetes or diabetic complications. Complications of diabetes include eye problems and blindness, heart disease, stroke, neurological problems, amputation, and impotence. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is a chronic, incurable disease that affects nearly every part of the body and can be life threatening, contributing to other serious diseases. Complications of diabetes are also life threatening and diabetes and all diabetes related conditions must be managed under the care of a physician throughout a person's life. Clinical complications associated with diabetes may include:

Cardiovascular disease

Often caused by atherosclerosis, or an excess build-up of plaque on the inner wall of a large blood vessel which restricts the flow of blood, heart disease is the leading cause of diabetes-related deaths. Heart disease and stroke are two to four times more common in persons with diabetes.


High blood pressure affects 73 percent of persons with diabetes.

Dental Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease occurs with greater frequency in persons with diabetes.

Retinopathy or glaucoma (eye disease or blindness)

Blindness due to diabetic retinopathy is a more important cause of visual impairment in younger-onset diabetics than in older-onset diabetics. Males with younger-onset diabetes generally develop retinopathy more rapidly than females with younger-onset diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults ages 20 to 74.

Renal disease (kidney/urinary tract disease)

Ten to 21 percent of all people with diabetes develop kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a condition in which the patient requires dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to live.

Neuropathy (nerve disease)

Approximately 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of diabetic nerve damage. Severe forms of diabetic nerve disease are the major contributing cause of lower-extremity amputations.


More than half the amputations in the US occur among people with diabetes.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

DKA is one of the most serious outcomes of poorly controlled diabetes, and primarily occurs in persons with type 1 diabetes. DKA is marked by high blood glucose levels along with ketones in the urine.

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