Diabetes treatment matters | Diabetes & Endocrinology | UC Davis Health

Why Diabetes Treatment Matters

The cells throughout your body, including those of your brain as well as your muscles, need fuel to function properly. That fuel is a type of sugar called glucose. Your intestines extract glucose from what you eat and drink, and pass it into your bloodstream. A hormone called insulin, produced in the pancreas, is required to enable glucose to transfer into cells to produce energy.

People with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood, either because their body’s cells don’t react properly to insulin, or because their pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. No cure exists for diabetes, but we can help you keep it under control.

Learn more from UC Davis Health: Healthy habits to help you prevent or manage your type 2 diabetes

Health Risks of Diabetes

If left untreated, diabetes over time can be damaging and potentially life-threatening. It can increase your risk for:

  • Kidney disease, potentially leading to the need for dialysis
  • Cardiovascular problems — heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
  • Retinopathy, caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye, posing a risk of vision problems or even blindness
  • Nerve damage
  • Gum disease
  • Foot problems that can lead to amputation if severe

How Diabetes is Diagnosed

A simple blood test measuring glucose level is used to determine if someone has diabetes. A normal blood glucose level between meals is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Doctors have a name for significantly higher blood glucose levels: hyperglycemia. A blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher after fasting for 12 hours or greater than 200 mg/dl two hours after eating, a characteristic of diabetes, is cause for concern and action.

Learn More About Diabetes