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 626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 62251.
 

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 626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 62251.
 
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.
NEWS & UPDATES
  • Ryan Chavira was a senior in high school when she began feeling sluggish, fatigued and, well, “down.” Trips to the doctor ended in “you’re fine” pronouncements; blood tests results showed nothing of real concern. But Chavira’s grandmother had passed away from ovarian cancer when she was in eig...
  • Brain tumors are exceptionally difficult to treat. They can be removed surgically, but individual cancer cells may have already spread elsewhere in the brain and can escape the effects of both radiation and chemotherapy. To prevent tumors from recurring, doctors need a way to find and stop those invasive cancer...
  • Breast cancer risk is personal; breast cancer risk assessment should be, too. To that end, City of Hope researchers have developed a starting point to help women (and their doctors) with a family history of the disease begin that risk assessment process. The result is an iPhone app, called BRISK, for Breast Can...
  • When it comes to breast cancer, women aren’t limited to getting screened and, if diagnosed, making appropriate treatment choices. They can also take a proactive stance in the fight against breast cancer by understanding key risk factors and practicing lifestyle habits that can help reduce their own breast...
  • Cancers of the blood and immune system are considered to be among the most difficult-to-treat cancers. A world leader in the treatment of blood cancers, City of Hope is now launching an institute specifically focused on treating people with lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma, as well as other serious blood and bone...
  • Genetics, genes, genome, genetic risk … Such terms are becoming increasingly familiar to even nonresearchers as studies and information about the human make-up become more extensive and more critical. At City of Hope, these words have long been part of our vocabulary. Researchers and physicians are studyi...
  • Mammograms are currently the best method to detect breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat and before it’s big enough to feel or cause symptoms. But recent mammogram screening guidelines may have left some women confused about when to undergo annual testing. Here Lusi Tumyan, M.D., chief of t...
  • Although chemotherapy can be effective in treating cancer, it can also exact a heavy toll on a patient’s health. One impressive alternative researchers have found is in the form of a vaccine. A type of immunotherapy, one part of the vaccine primes the body to react strongly against a tumor; the second part dire...
  • The breast cancer statistic is attention-getting: One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. That doesn’t mean that, if you’re one of eight women at a dinner table, one of you is fated to have breast cancer (read more on that breast cancer statistic), but it does mean that the ...
  • Rob Darakjian was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at just 19 years old. He began chemotherapy and was in and out of the hospital for four months. After his fourth round of treatment, he received a bone marrow transplantation from an anonymous donor. Today, he’s cancer free. In his first post, ...
  • Advanced age tops the list among breast cancer risk factor for women. Not far behind is family history and genetics. Two City of Hope researchers delving deep into these issues recently received important grants to advance their studies. Arti Hurria, M.D., director of the Cancer and Aging Research Program, and ...
  • City of Hope is extending the reach of its lifesaving mission well beyond U.S. borders. To that end, three distinguished City of Hope leaders visited China earlier this year to lay the foundation for the institution’s new International Medicine Program. The program is part of City of Hope’s strategi...
  • A hallmark of cancer is that it doesn’t always limit itself to a primary location. It spreads. Breast cancer and lung cancer in particular are prone to spread, or metastasize, to the brain. Often the brain metastasis isn’t discovered until years after the initial diagnosis, just when patients were beginning to ...
  • Blueberries, cinnamon, baikal scullcap, grape seed extract (and grape skin extract), mushrooms, barberry, pomegranates … all contain compounds with the potential to treat, or prevent, cancer. Scientists at City of Hope have found tantalizing evidence of this potential and are determined to explore it to t...
  • Most women who are treated for breast cancer with a mastectomy do not choose to undergo reconstructive surgery. The reasons for this, according to a recent JAMA Surgery study, vary. Nearly half say they do not want any additional surgery, while nearly 34 percent say breast cancer reconstruction simply isn’t imp...