Diabetes Basics

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism affecting both children and adults, in which the body is unable to regulate its blood glucose levels appropriately. Glucose, a simple sugar, comes from the carbohydrates that you eat. Your body synthesizes and stores glucose, which it then uses as a major source of energy.

For glucose to get into cells, insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, must be present. In people with diabetes, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the body cells do not respond to the insulin that it produces. As a result, glucose can't get into the cells of the body and glucose levels in the blood become elevated. Over time the high blood sugar levels damage many organs of the body

Diabetes Risk Factors 

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing diabetes. People who have close family members with diabetes and people who are overweight have a greater chance of developing diabetes. Also, the risk of diabetes is increased in some ethnic groups including people who are African-American, Latino American or Native American.

Individuals with diabetes are at risk for complications that may affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves and circulatory system. Managing diabetes requires that each patient establish goals of therapy that include target blood sugar range, weight management and dietary and lifestyle changes.

Diabetes types and symptoms

Learn about the Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Institute at South Texas Health System Children's >

Edinburg Children's Hospital
If you need a referral to a pediatric specialist affiliated with South Texas Health System Children's, call the South Texas Health System Reserve and Learn line at 800-879-1033.​