A chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes happens when your body isn’t able to take up sugar (glucose) into its cells and use it for energy. This results in a build up of extra sugar in your bloodstream. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to serious consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body’s organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.