You’ve heard of diabetes, but what exactly is it? How does it impact the body, and how can it be managed?

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects how the body processes sugar in the blood.

The human body breaks down the carbohydrates in food into blood sugar.

Blood sugar is then carried from the bloodstream to the cells using a hormone called insulin.

When insulin is not present or not effective to help the body remove blood sugar, it causes health complications.

Type 1 diabetes (less common)

  • The body does not produce insulin at all
  • Must be managed with insulin

Type 2 diabetes (more common)

  • The body produces insulin but does not use it properly
  • Lifestyle changes and/or medication may be required

What parts of the body does diabetes affect?

Because sugar runs in the bloodstream, diabetes can affect multiple organs.

How do you manage diabetes?

  1. Get 150 minutes of activity weekly
  2. Follow balanced plate guidelines for meals
  3. Drink 3 liters (12 cups) of water per day
  4. Manage stress
  5. Monitor blood sugar
  6. Take meds as prescribed

Want to learn more about how to manage stress? Read our 6 expert tips for managing stress by clicking here.


Updated: October 27, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving. While we are continuously reviewing and updating our content, some of the information in this article may not reflect the most up-to-date scientific information. Please visit the online resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news, or reach out to Teladoc to speak with one of our board-certified physicians.