Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t sue its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in our blood. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.
Diabetes is a growing problem in Minnesota. In 2015, 7.6% of Minnesota adults (about 320,000) had been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or 2). Type 1 often starts in childhood, but adults can develop it when the pancreas stops making insulin. Type 2 develops when the pancreas slows down its production of insulin or the body cannot use the insulin. About 95 percent of all diabetes cases are type 2, most cases among adults.