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What Happens When You Have Diabetes?

When you have diabetes, your body can't properly use the energy from the food you eat. This problem is closely tied to how your body makes and uses insulin. Insulin is a substance made in your pancreas (an organ in your body) that helps to keep your blood sugar (glucose) within normal range unless you have diabetes.

Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes

In both types of diabetes, sugar builds up in your bloodstream because it cannot enter the cells.

  • In type 1 diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin. This is called insulin deficiency
  • In type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin, but your cells do not use it as effectively as they should. This is called insulin resistance. Also, your ability to make insulin can gradually decrease as time goes by
  • Without sugar for fuel in the cells, your body lacks energy
  • Sugar stays in your blood and you have high blood sugar levels
  • Blood sugar levels that are too high can damage your blood vessels, and over a long period of time can result in serious complications

What Happens When You Eat

Learn how insulin works in the body to lower blood sugar (glucose) after you eat.

Knowledge is Power

Learn about diabetes to understand why it's important to manage your blood sugar every day.

Aim for Your Blood Sugar Target

Learn about blood sugar goals and targets to help reduce your risk of diabetes complications.

Mealtime Steps to Success

Help keep blood sugar levels in range with healthy recipes.

Lilly and Disney help families find the magic in everyday moments

Learn how the Lilly and Disney collaboration helps children with type 1 diabetes, their families, and caregivers manage diabetes in their everyday lives.

Diabetes tools you can use

Download diabetes educational materials and meal planning tools.

Count carbs at home or on-the-go

Use the Carb Counting tool to add up your carbs at every snack or meal.

Recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?

Learn about treatment options for type 2 diabetes, including medications, eating well, and staying active.

Walking toward wellness

Learn why staying active is important in managing diabetes.

Taking care of #1

It's important to take the best care of your body now to help reduce diabetes complications in the future. Learn why.

Different insulins for different needs

Various insulins are available to help manage blood sugar levels. Learn about the different types of insulin available.

Multicultural diabetes materials

Access diabetes awareness resources in 38 different languages.