A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
About Diabetes Bookmark and Share

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the islet cells of the pancreas needed to convert sugar and starches into energy needed for daily life. Normally glucose enters your cells because of the action of insulin. It acts as a key and assists glucose transport from the blood to the cell. In people with diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly respond to the insulin, therefore, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream and eventually is excreted in the urine.
 
An estimated 20 million, or approximately 7 percent, of Americans have diabetes, and many more are at risk for developing the disease. With the rate of diabetes steadily increasing, the need for an aggressive search for better treatments and a cure is glaringly apparent.
 
Type 1 diabetes
In the past, this was known as juvenile-onset diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system slowly destroys the cells in the pancreas (islet cells) that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that works to allow glucose access to the body's cells, thereby providing fuel for metabolic processes. The pancreas of a patient with type 1 diabetes produces little or no insulin and, therefore, such patients must take insulin injections to survive. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but most commonly develops in children between the ages of 5 and 15.
 
Type 2 diabetes
Formerly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes is usually found in individuals who are more than 40 years old and overweight. In type 2 diabetes, insulin does not work effectively. Therefore, the insulin produced by the pancreas is not sufficient to keep the blood sugar level normal and the body's cells are unable to properly use glucose.
 
Maturity-onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY)
This form of diabetes is inherited, and can vary in severity. Most often, MODY resembles a very mild version of type 1 diabetes, with continued partial insulin production and normal insulin sensitivity. A person with MODY is typically in their teens or 20s and thin.
 
Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy in women who have never been diagnosed with diabetes. It occurs when the body is unable to properly use and produce enough insulin during pregnancy and as a result glucose levels rise. Symptoms usually occur during the second or third trimester when the babys body has developed and is growing.
 
Other causes of diabetes
Diabetes may also be caused as a result of organ transplants, certain types of cancers, as well as a host of medications (for cancer and other diseases).
 
If you are concerned about being at risk for diabetes, make sure your physician has done a thorough health history and is aware of all the medications you are taking.
 
Complications of diabetes
Unfortunately, the effects of uncontrolled diabetes can be harmful. Complications stem from damage to blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. As a result, diabetic eye disease, kidney disease, vascular disease and nerve damage can occur.
 
More educational information
For more about diabetes education, visit the American Diabetes Association and/or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation websites, or contact City of Hope's Department of Clinical Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism at 626-218-2251.
 

About Diabetes

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the islet cells of the pancreas needed to convert sugar and starches into energy needed for daily life. Normally glucose enters your cells because of the action of insulin. It acts as a key and assists glucose transport from the blood to the cell. In people with diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly respond to the insulin, therefore, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream and eventually is excreted in the urine.
 
An estimated 20 million, or approximately 7 percent, of Americans have diabetes, and many more are at risk for developing the disease. With the rate of diabetes steadily increasing, the need for an aggressive search for better treatments and a cure is glaringly apparent.
 
Type 1 diabetes
In the past, this was known as juvenile-onset diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system slowly destroys the cells in the pancreas (islet cells) that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that works to allow glucose access to the body's cells, thereby providing fuel for metabolic processes. The pancreas of a patient with type 1 diabetes produces little or no insulin and, therefore, such patients must take insulin injections to survive. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but most commonly develops in children between the ages of 5 and 15.
 
Type 2 diabetes
Formerly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes is usually found in individuals who are more than 40 years old and overweight. In type 2 diabetes, insulin does not work effectively. Therefore, the insulin produced by the pancreas is not sufficient to keep the blood sugar level normal and the body's cells are unable to properly use glucose.
 
Maturity-onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY)
This form of diabetes is inherited, and can vary in severity. Most often, MODY resembles a very mild version of type 1 diabetes, with continued partial insulin production and normal insulin sensitivity. A person with MODY is typically in their teens or 20s and thin.
 
Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy in women who have never been diagnosed with diabetes. It occurs when the body is unable to properly use and produce enough insulin during pregnancy and as a result glucose levels rise. Symptoms usually occur during the second or third trimester when the babys body has developed and is growing.
 
Other causes of diabetes
Diabetes may also be caused as a result of organ transplants, certain types of cancers, as well as a host of medications (for cancer and other diseases).
 
If you are concerned about being at risk for diabetes, make sure your physician has done a thorough health history and is aware of all the medications you are taking.
 
Complications of diabetes
Unfortunately, the effects of uncontrolled diabetes can be harmful. Complications stem from damage to blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. As a result, diabetic eye disease, kidney disease, vascular disease and nerve damage can occur.
 
More educational information
For more about diabetes education, visit the American Diabetes Association and/or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation websites, or contact City of Hope's Department of Clinical Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism at 626-218-2251.
 
Quick Links
With Cancer, Expertise Matters

 
Cancer patients need to have confidence in their treatment plans by exploring all possible options. Often that means they should get a second opinion. For these four patients, getting a second opinion from experts at City of Hope was life-saving.
Your insurance company/medical group will tell you if you need any authorizations. You can also find out what, if any, co-payments and deductibles will be your responsibility.
 
With MyCityofHope your health information is right at your fingertips, anywhere, any time.
As a patient you’ll receive the most innovative treatments from doctors at the top of their field. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked us as one of the nation’s Best Hospitals in cancer for over a decade, with superior survival rates cited as a major ranking factor.


NEWS & UPDATES
  • The outlook and length of survival has not changed much in the past 25 years for patients suffering from an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer known as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). These patients still have few options for therapy; currently available therapies are generally toxic and do not incre...
  • “With bladder cancer, the majority of patients that I see can be cured,” said urologist Kevin Chan, M.D., head of reconstructive urology at City of Hope. “The challenge is to get patients the same quality of life that they had before surgery.” To meet this challenge, Chan and the urologic team at City of Hope [...
  • Already pioneers in the use of immunotherapy, City of Hope researchers are now testing the bold approach to cancer treatment against one of medicine’s biggest challenges: brain cancer. This month, they will launch a clinical trial using patients’ own modified T cells to fight advanced brain tumors. One of but a...
  • Brain cancer may be one of the most-frightening diagnoses people can receive, striking at the very center of who we are as individuals. Further, it often develops over time, causing no symptoms until it’s already advanced. Listen to City of Hope Radio as Behnam Badie, M.D., director of the Brain Tumor Pro...
  • The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It takes a village. No man is an island. Choose your aphorism: It’s a simple truth that collaboration usually is better than isolation. That’s especially true when you’re trying to introduce healthful habits and deliver health care to people at risk of disease and...
  • When Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced earlier this week that he has the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he was giving voice to the experience of more than 71,000 Americans each year. The announcement came with Hogan’s promise to stay in office while undergoing aggressive treatment for the...
  • The spine can be affected by many different kinds of tumors. Malignant, or cancerous, tumors can arise within the spine itself. Secondary spinal tumors, which are actually much more common, begin as cancers in another part of the body, such as the breast and prostate, and then spread, or metastasize, to the spi...
  • Although most cancer occurs in older adults, the bulk of cancer research doesn’t focus on this vulnerable and fast-growing population. City of Hope and its Cancer and Aging Research Team aim to change that, and they’re getting a significant boost from Professional Practice Leader Peggy Burhenn, R.N....
  • Liz Graef-Larcher’s first brain tumor was discovered by accident six years ago. The then-48-year-old with a long history of sinus problems and headaches had been sent for an MRI, and the scan found a lesion in her brain called a meningioma – a tumor that arises in the meninges, the layers of tissue that cover a...
  • The colon and rectum are parts of the body’s gastrointestinal system, also called the digestive tract. After food is digested in the stomach and nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, the remaining material moves down into the lower large intestine (colon) where water and nutrients are absorbed. The low...
  • If there is one truism about hospital stays it is that patients want to get out. For many, however, the joy of being discharged is tempered by the unexpected challenges that recovery in a new setting may pose. Even with professional help, the quality of care and treatment that patients receive at City of Hope [...
  • Jana Portnow, M.D., associate director of the Brain Tumor Program at City of Hope, didn’t expect to specialize in treating brain tumors. But, early in her career, she undertook a year of research on pain management and palliative care and, in that program, got to know many patients with brain tumors. After that...
  • Ask any patient: Nurses are as pivotal in their care as doctors. They answer the call of a patient in the middle of the night, they hold the patient’s hand as he or she takes on yet another round of treatment and, in the best-case scenario, they wave goodbye as the patient leaves the hospital, […]
  • Many oncologists, not to mention their patients, might think that there’s no place for mathematical analysis in the treatment of cancer. They might think that all treatment decisions are based on unique factors affecting individual patients, with no connection to other patients and their treatment regimen...
  • Within three days in 2007, Stephanie Hosford, then 37, learned that she was pregnant with her long-awaited second child – and that she had triple-negative breast cancer. Soon afterward, Hosford discovered that she and her husband, Grant, had been approved to adopt a little girl from China.  After encountering m...