Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy.
In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. As a result, the pancreas stops making insulin. Without insulin, glucose can’t get into your cells, and your blood glucose rises above normal levels.
In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems, such as heart disease, nerve damage, eye problems, and kidney disease.
Experts estimate that more than 1 in every 10 Americans have diabetes. That’s more than 30 million people. And many, many more people are at risk for developing it later in life.
That risk depends on many things, including a person’s family health history and their race or ethnicity. Diabetes is more common and often more severe for Hispanics, Latinos, and African Americans than it is among non-Hispanic whites. Scientists don’t fully understand why this is the case. That’s why it’s very important that diabetes research, as well as all other health research, include people of all races and ethnicities. And that’s why All of Us Research Program is gathering information that can help researchers learn more.
Brooke explains her family history of diabetes, her experience with "one-size-fits-all" medicine, and why she thought it was important to join the All of Us Research Program.