Do you know someone whose life is affected by diabetes? Diabetes is a health condition that affects millions of kids and adults of all ages.

Some people are born with it, while others may develop diabetes when they’re older. You can’t catch diabetes like the flu. Some types of diabetes can even be prevented.

Your body’s main source of energy is a sugar called glucose, which you get from the foods you eat. Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body processes the glucose it needs.

Usually, your digestive system processes the food you eat and moves the glucose into your bloodstream. One of your organs called the pancreas produces an important hormone called insulin. Insulin is what helps move the glucose from the bloodstream into your body’s cells, where it’s used for energy.

Diabetes can affect how your body processes glucose in a couple of different ways. In type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to make insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body’s insulin doesn’t work the way that it should.

In both types of diabetes, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells like it should. This results in sugar levels in the blood being too high or too low. When your blood sugar level is too high or too low, you can feel fatigued and dizzy or get really sick. People with diabetes must closely monitor their blood sugar levels many times each day.

About five to ten percent of people who are diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes. It is sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. It can’t be prevented, and doctors can’t predict who will get it and who won’t. While scientists believe that a person’s genes that are passed down from parents have something to do with getting type 1 diabetes, they also believe that another event, such as a viral infection, might be needed to trigger type 1 diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed. As a result, treatment requires daily shots of insulin to be taken.

Type 2 diabetes is different. The pancreas still makes insulin, but the body doesn’t use it in the correct way. Doctors believe one of the primary factors in getting type 2 diabetes is being overweight.

Being overweight makes it harder for the body to use insulin properly. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can often be prevented by eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a normal weight. In addition, some people with type 2 diabetes are able to stop taking insulin if they get to and maintain a healthy weight.

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    • What a great couple of guesses, Wonder Friend Chloe! We’re happy you visited us today, and you’ve been using your awesome imagination! :)

  1. I CAN’T BEVIEVE HOW MANY PEOPLE PASS OUT OR DIED! I’m 11 years old, and when I grow up, I will be a doctor to help people survive! :(

    Tomorrow’s WONDERS: What do dinousours eat? Do dinousours lay eggs? Is dinousour a mammal? :) P.S. I’m in Mrs.Hess’s class! Even though, I watched The Ice Age, so I rememeber the dinousours! :) :( :)

    • We are really proud of you, Kathy! We think it’s great that you’re dreaming of your future career– we bet you’ll be great at helping others!

      Thanks for sharing your guesses with us- we can’t wait to find out what the Wonder will be! :)

    • Thanks for letting us know, Crystal! We hope you learned something new about diabetes with us today. Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend! :)

  2. Thanks for today’s wonder. I have a friend who has type 1 diabetes, myself. I can’t wait to read tomorrow’s wonder!

    • We’re happy you’re here today, Josephine! We are glad you learned more about diabetes, and you and your friend can talk about this Wonder together! Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend! :)

  3. Thank you so much for your WONDER today, I have type 1 Diabetes and Dylan found it really helpfull reading about Diabetes and very interesting. We live in Britain and like America, we have alot of Diabetics here too. Thank you we are already looking foward to WONDERing with you tomorrow.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your comment with us, Dylan and Tan! We are so glad you have both been WONDERing together, especially since this Wonder is one that is so close to your family. We hope you’re having a great day and we’re so glad to visited us! Thanks for being super Wonder Friends! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Chloe! We learned a lot about diabetes and are glad you did, too. Perhaps we’ll see you soon! :)

    • Hey there, Nikolas! We’re so happy you’re here today! While diabetes can affect a diabetic’s life in many ways, many people with diabetes lead very normal lives. They watch what they eat, they take their insulin, and they enjoy life! We learned that eating healthy and exercising is a great way to prevent obesity, which is another way to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Thanks for sharing your comment! :)

    • We agree, Blakeleigh, and we’re glad you are thinking positively, too! Diabetes affects many people of all ages, and we are glad you’ve learned more about it! Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend Blakeleigh! :)

  4. Hello, my name is Briahna and I am in Mrs. Hess’ class. When we did predictions I said “how do you get diabetes?” so I got today’s WONDER right! I really liked this wonder, it is interesting.

    • NICE WORK, Briahna! We’re so happy to hear that you correctly predicted our Wonder! We think it’s super cool that you used the context clues of our Wonder hint to determine what the Wonder would be! WOHOO! :)

    • Hey, Wonder Friend Alyssa! Thanks for the comment. We are glad you made a connection to the Wonder about diabetes. We hope you have a stellar day!! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend Seth! We are glad you enjoyed WONDERing about diabetes today. We hope you have a terrific Tuesday! :)

  5. I never knew that diabetes can kill you if you don’t have a pump on. I learned that if you want to know if you have diabetes you have to prick your fingers it must hurt. Plus you have to change your diet. It is sad how many kids die a day by diabetes.

    • Hey there, Daniel! We’re so glad you learned something new about diabetes today. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially for those living with diabetes. We’re so happy you shared your comment with us, Daniel. :)

    • We’re really glad you have a better understanding of diabetes now, Wonder Friends Owen and Pooch! Perhaps your friend can tell you about his or her day and what he or she has to do to stay nice and healthy. We hope you have a SUPER day! :)

    • Hey Aaron, we are glad you liked this Wonder! It is cool seeing how your body works. What is one thing you remembered or shared with someone else? :)

    • Hey Reagan! We are glad you came to Wonderopolis! Owen mentioned he had a friend with diabetes and we like getting to know friends! You probably already know how important it is to take care of your health, but you can help us pass the word! Thanks, Reagan! :)

    • Hi Joseph, great question! We’re glad you are WONDERing about diabetes with us today. The attached pump actually works to provide the body with insulin, which is very important for the body. We Wonder if you know anyone with diabetes? Perhaps they can help you Wonder about it! :)

    • WONDERful, Kyle! We are so glad that you learned something new today in Wonderopolis! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :-)

  6. I don’t think that I will get type 2 diabetes. I am active, and I eat a variety of foods. It was nice to look around this article!

    • Welcome back, Graham! We’re so GLAD to have you WONDERing with us again! We hope you have a terrific Tuesday! :D

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is diabetes?
  • What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
  • Can diabetes be prevented?

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Want to know even more about diabetes? Grab a friend or family member and check out one or more of the following activities:

  • Jump online to watch What Happens in Diabetes? You’ll get a better understanding of exactly what diabetes is and how it affects the body. Do you know someone with diabetes? If so, you’ll know more about their condition. Understanding someone’s struggle is the first step toward being able to be a good friend to them!
  • Many kids struggle with diabetes. Take some time to read more about how kids with diabetes handle their condition. Here are a couple of interesting stories that will help you understand what living with diabetes is like:
  • With today’s technology, children can manage their diabetes easier than in the past. Read Cool Tools — Technology Helps Kids Better Manage Their Type 1 Diabetes online to learn more about some of the ways in which technology is making life easier for children with type 1 diabetes. What kinds of technology do you think might be developed in the future? Brainstorm for a bit and come up with a few ideas for improvements that might make life easier for diabetics in the future.

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Check out Science NetLinks’ Cancer & Diabetes Resistance Audio Update to learn more about a rare genetic mutation that makes people very short, but also resistant to cancer and diabetes.

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