Staten Island University Hospital uses the latest medical advances to treat disorders of the endocrine system, such as diabetes. We provide effective methods of diabetes treatments and diabetes self-management education. Our team of experts includes board certified adult and pediatric endocrinologists along with registered nurses and registered dietitians who are certified in diabetes education. A certified diabetes educator counsels and educates people on how to manage life with diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a life-long condition in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels in the body are above normal. It can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower-extremity amputations.

What happens when you have diabetes?

When you have diabetes, your body has trouble using the food you eat for energy. Most of the food we eat turns into glucose, the body's form of energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin. Insulin works like a key that opens up the body's cells to let the glucose in. When you have diabetes, either your body stops making insulin or your body's cells do not use insulin well. In both cases, glucose builds up in your blood.

Types of diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes - the body stops making insulin. This type of diabetes usually begins in childhood, but can develop at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily either by injections or insulin pump.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body's cells do not use insulin well. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and weight loss, or may require oral medications and/or insulin injections.

Gestational diabetes starts during pregnancy and usually resolves after the baby is born. Women who have gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies that are born to mothers with gestational diabetes may be at a greater risk of being overweight or developing type 2 diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes happens when the blood glucose (sugar) levels in the body are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. When you have prediabetes, you are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. You also are at a higher risk for other serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Without lifestyle changes to improve your health you may develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.