Diabetes is a condition which results from the body’s inability to produce or effectively use insulin. Without insulin, energy from food can not enter cells and becomes trapped in the blood stream.

There are two major types of diabetes. Type 1(called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes), the body completely stops producing any insulin, a hormone that enables the body to use glucose found in foods for energy.

People with Type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin to survive. This form of diabetes usually develops in children or young adults. Type 2 (also called adult-onset or non insulin-dependent) diabetes results when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (insulin resistance). This form of diabetes usually occurs in people over forty years of age, who may be overweight and/or have a family history of diabetes.


American Diabetes Association (ADA)
Attn: National Call Center
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 800-342-2383 (Monday – Friday 8:30AM – 8:00PM Eastern Time)
Contact: Text-only Chat
Email: askADA@diabetes.org

American Diabetes Association of New England
260 Cochituate Road #200
Framingham, Massachusetts
Phone: 617-482-4580

Barton Center for Diabetes Education
Camping and educational program. Year round camp, retreat & conference center where learning & shared experiences combine to support and motivate children and families
30 Ennis Road
PO Box 356
North Oxford, MA 01537-0356
Email: info@bartoncenter.org
Phone: 508-987-2056

Joslin Diabetes Center
Undertakes diabetes research, clinical care, education and health and wellness programs on a global scale. We are dedicated to ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives, and we offer real progress in preventing and curing diabetes.
One Joslin Place
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-309-2400
Email: diabetes@joslin.harvard.edu

Joslin Satellite Clinic
General diabetes care for adults; endocrinology services, nutrition counseling, diabetes education, both one-on-one and through classes.
145 Rosemary St. Suite D
Needham, MA 02192

Make an appointment: 617-309-2400

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
26 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 800-533-2873
E-mail: info@jdrf.org

JDRF New England/Bay State Branch
60 Walnut Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Phone: 781-431-0700
Email: baystate@jdrf.org

Children with Diabetes
Online community for kids, families and adults with diabetes

Contact: Ask a Question form

Other Information:

Chapter 81 / “Act Relative to Diabetes Cost Reduction”
The following service categories of services must be covered under the insurance packages of all health insurers:

  • Outpatient diabetes self-management training and education
  • All lab tests and urine profiles
  • Blood glucose monitors, voice synthesizers, and visual magnifying aids
  • Therapeutic/molded shoes and shoe inserts
  • Blood glucose monitoring strips, urine glucose monitoring strips, ketone strips, lancets,
  • insulin syringes, insulin pumps and pump supplies, insulin pens, insulin and oral medications.

The Carroll Center for the Blind “Diabetes Self Management” Program
Community-based service for legally-blind diabetics, who struggle to manage their diabetes independently. In cooperation with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, The Carroll Center’s DSM program provides individualized, home-based services in independent diabetes management.
770 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02458-2597
Phone: 800-852-3131 or 617-969-6200
Contact: Form 

Massachusetts Diabetes Management
Bureau of Community Health Access and Promotion
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Bureau of Family and Community Health
Diabetes Prevention Control Program
250 Washington Street, 4th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Phone: 617-624-5070
Email: heart.stroke@state.ma.us

Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse
Provides free health promotion materials for Massachusetts residents and health and social service providers on various health topics including diabetes.
Phone: 800-952-6637 (Toll-Free tri-lingual phone line – accessible in English, Spanish or Portuguese)

National Diabetes Education Program
Publications available, referrals to health professionals and Combined Health Information Database.
1 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3560
Phone: 800-860-8747 or 866-569-1162 (TTY)
Email: ndic@info.niddk.nih.gov

Social Security Benefits for those with Diabetes

It’s difficult to get disability for controlled diabetes, but most diabetic applicants suffer from related medical problems that limit their ability to work.

Diabetes Glossary

Normal fasting glucose level
The American Diabetes Association defines normal fasting blood glucose levels as a value of 110 mg/dL (milligrams/deciliter).
People with fasting glucose values between 110 and 126 mg/dL are considered to have impaired fasting glucose, or pre-diabetes, a risk factor for future diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Diabetic glucose level
People with fasting glucose values of 126 mg/dL or greater may have diabetes and should get additional testing.
Type 1 diabetes
An autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This form of diabetes usually appears in childhood but can occur at any age. Patients must take insulin by injection or pump to stay alive. Approximately 5% to 10% of diabetics have type 1 diabetes. Risk factors for type 1 diabetes may be autoimmune, genetic or environmental. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
A metabolic disorder in which the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin, a pancreatic hormone that is essential especially for the metabolism of carbohydrates. Approximately 90% to 95% of diabetics have type 2 diabetes. It is highly preventable with lifestyle changes.
Gestational diabetes
A condition that causes blood sugar to rise in some pregnant women. Blood sugar levels usually return to normal after delivery. However, women who have gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Fact Sheet last updated on: 2/15/2023


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