What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose (pronounced: gloo-kose), a sugar that is the body’s main source of fuel. Like a CD player need batteries, your body needs glucose to keep running. Here’s how it should work.

You eat. Glucose from the food enters your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin (pronounced: in-suh-lin). Insulin helps the glucose get into the body’s cells. Your body gets the energy it needs.

The pancreas is a long, flat gland in your belly that helps your body digest food. It also makes insulin. Insulin is kind of like a key that opens the doors to the cells of the body. It lets the glucose in. Then the glucose can move out of the blood and into the cells.

But if someone has diabetes, the body either can’t make insulin or the insulin doesn’t work in the body like it should. The glucose can’t get into the cells normally, so the blood sugar level gets too high. Lots of sugar in the blood makes people sick if they don’t get treatment.

The Coping Cart at Norton Children’s Hospital is designed to help ease children’s stress and anxiety.

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