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Education: Facts about Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus (also referred to as “sugar diabetes” or just diabetes) is a chronic disease in which the body is unable to use glucose (sugar) for energy. 20.8 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes can be successfully controlled and self-managed, if patients follow physician instructions. Click here to learn about Apria's Diabetes Supply Program.

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Diabetes Physiology

To understand diabetes, you need to know about the role of insulin.

  • After you eat your food, it is broken down into glucose, or sugar
  • Your pancreas responds by producing insulin
  • Insulin is normally produced by the beta cells of your pancreas
  • It is insulin that moves the glucose from the blood into the tissues to produce energy (fuel) for the body
  • In diabetes, that process is interrupted

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Types of Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes

  • Type I 
  • Type II 

Type I Diabetes

  • Type I diabetes, sometimes called “juvenile diabetes”, occurs when the insulin producing cells are destroyed, so that the body no longer makes insulin
  • Usually begins before the age of 30
  • Only 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have Type I
  • If a person has Type I diabetes, he or she must take insulin (insulin dependent)

Type II Diabetes

Just because a person is “insulin dependent” does not mean he/she has Type I diabetes; Type II diabetics may also need to take insulin.

  • Type II diabetes means the body does not make enough insulin, or does not use the insulin it makes efficiently
  • 90-95% of the people who have diabetes have Type II
  • 80% of the people who develop Type II diabetes are overweight

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Common Complications

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Note: High blood sugar can cause frequent recurring infections. It can also cause nerve damage, resulting in numbness in a patient’s fingers and toes.

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* You may qualify for a complimentary meter based on current manufacturer offers.


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