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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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What is Diabetes? 

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Diabetes is a life-long disease that affects the way your body handles glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood. Your body changes most of the food you eat into glucose, which your body uses for energy. Your blood takes the glucose to the cells throughout your body. Your blood always has some glucose in it. But too much glucose in the blood is not good for your health. Diabetes means that your blood glucose (sugar) is too high.

The glucose from food needs insulin to get into the body's cells. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, an organ near the stomach. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood. If your body does not make enough insulin or the cells do not respond to insulin as much as they should, the glucose can't get into the cells, so it stays in the blood. This makes your blood glucose level high, causing you to have diabetes.

There are four types of diabetes described below.  Click on the links to learn more.


Prediabetes is when your blood glucose levels are elevated, but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.  Although 98 million American adults have prediabetes, only 1 in 10 know they have it.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common form of diabetes, type 2 diabetes occurs when your body makes insulin, but the insulin can't do its job, so glucose is not getting into the cells.  Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.  About 38 million people have diabetes but about 8.1 million people with diabetes do not know they have the disease.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, but it's a lifelong condition.  If you have this type of diabetes, your body does not make insulin, so you must take insulin every day.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman is pregnant. This type of diabetes is caused by a change in the way a woman's body responds to the hormone insulin during her pregnancy.  This change results in elevated levels of blood glucose.  A woman who has gestational diabetes during pregnancy is at greater risk for type 2 diabetes later.