After Eating ! various foods are broken down into sugars in the gut (intestine). The main sugar is called glucose. This is absorbed through the gut wall into the bloodstream. Glucose is like a fuel which is used by the cells in the body for energy. To remain healthy, your blood glucose level should not go too high or too low.
So, when your blood glucose begins to rise (after eating), the level of a hormone called insulin should also rise. Insulin acts on the cells of your body and makes them take glucose into the cells from the bloodstream. Some of the glucose is used by the cells for energy and some is converted into stores of energy (glycogen or fat). When the blood glucose level begins to fall (between meals or when we have no food), the level of insulin falls. Some glycogen or fat is then broken down back into glucose and some is released back into the bloodstream to keep the blood glucose level normal.
Hormones such as insulin are chemicals that are released into the bloodstream and have an action on certain parts of the body. Insulin is made by special cells called beta cells which are part of little islands of cells (islets) within the pancreas.
Diabetes develops if you do not make enough insulin, or if the insulin that you do make does not work properly on the body's cells.
The rest of this leaflet deals only with type 1 diabetes.