Think of diabetes like barge traffic. The insulin is the barge. And it carries sugar, or glucose, to your cells for energy. Instead of the river, this takes place in the bloodstream.
If you have a problem with the barge, like in type 1 diabetes, you don't produce enough insulin, or barges. So your body can't transport enough sugar. Or in type 2 diabetes, you have enough insulin, or barges, but they're floating along the river without a place to dock.
Andrea Ryland has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
"No," she said. "I just wanted to see a doctor to make sure I was healthy, cause we had family members that passed away from things not caught ahead of time."
She doesn't seem too worried, considering the disease can lead to kidney failure, stroke, heart attacks, neuropathy and vision problems. "It could be better," she said. "It runs in the family." The big thing is that she caught it early.
"Well, diabetes is something you wanna catch early so you'll want to prevent or minimize the effects of organ damage," Dr. Viegas said.
So she and the doctor formulate a plan including a change in diet and regular exercise, plus medication. We'll call that the workers keeping the barges running. To quote Andrea, "Make sure you're healthy at all times."
Type 2 diabetes can lead to coronary artery disease and ultimately heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, vision problems, neuropathy in legs and feet.