Diabetes is a disease characterized by abnormally high levels of blood glucose and inadequate levels of insulin. Glucose is a simple sugar used by all the cells of the body to produce energy and support life.
Humans need a minimum level of glucose in their blood at all times to function and stay alive. Insulin is a peptide hormone naturally secreted by the pancreas to regulate the body's management of glucose.
When a healthy individual begins a meal, the pancreas releases a natural spike of insulin, called the first-phase insulin release, which is critical to the body's overall control of glucose.
Many patients with diabetes lack the first-phase insulin release and must treat themselves with daily meal-time insulin injections to avoid the negative effects of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.