Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is the name given to disorders in which the body has trouble regulating its blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a disorder of the body's immune system -- its system for protecting itself from viruses, bacteria or any foreign substances.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand that is located behind the lower part of the stomach. These cells -- called beta cells -- are contained, along with other types of cells, within small islands of endocrine cells called the pancreatic islets. Beta cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps the body move the glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body, which use it for energy.
But when the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.
Thus, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to stay alive. This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar level by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day.
People with diabetes must also carefully
WALK TO CURE DIABETES
More than 6,000 walkers rare expected to participate in the 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes throughout the month of October in four Bay Area locations.
The fundraising goal of the Greater Bay Area Chapter is to raise more than $2 million for research to find a cure for diabetes and its complications.
Nicole Williams is one of nine Bay Area children selected to serve as ambassadors for this year's walk.
Following are the Bay Area dates and locations for the 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes:
Sunday, Oct. 7 — Great America, Santa Clara
Sunday, Oct. 14 — Oakland Zoo, Oakland
Saturday, Oct. 20 — Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, Monterey
Sunday, Oct. 28 — Great Meadow at Fort Mason, San Francisco
For more information, visit www.jdrfbayarea.org/Walk.