Diabetes and How It Affects You
Nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 79 million people have prediabetes, a condition that increases their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
The term "diabetes" refers to a number of diseases, the most common being type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. In each, the body does not produce or properly use insulin — a hormone that is needed to convert sugar starches and other food into the energy we need to live.
The exact causes of diabetes are still unclear, although both genetics and environmental or lifestyle factors can play an important role in the development of diabetes and its complications.
- Type 1 diabetes — In this type of diabetes, the body fails to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose (sugar) to enter and fuel them. People who have type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to survive.
- Type 2 diabetes — This is the most common form of diabetes. It develops when the body cannot produce or properly use insulin. Older people (and minorities) carry the highest risk for type 2, but a growing number of children and young adults are now being diagnosed with it.
- Gestational diabetes — This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and then usually goes away after the baby is born. It’s very important to treat gestational diabetes because it can harm the developing fetus. Mothers who experience gestational diabetes are also at greatly increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Prediabetes — This is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
What is the Link Between Diabetes and Being Overweight?
Being overweight is a leading risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and makes treating diabetes more difficult. Studies show that overweight people who lose as little as 10-15 pounds and exercise just 30 minutes a day 5 times a week reduced their risk of developing diabetes by almost 60%.
Are You at Risk for Diabetes?
Warning Signs/Symptoms of Diabetes
- Unusual thirst
- Frequent desire to urinate
- Blurred vision
- Tired feeling for no apparent reason
- Extreme hunger
- Tingling/numbness in the hands or feet
- If you have any of these symptoms, why take chances? See your doctor and ask to be tested for diabetes. Find out for sure.
Planning for a Healthy Life
- Diabetes and How It Affects You
- A Healthier You
- Keeping Your Family Healthy
- Safe at Home
- Your Financial Health
- Planning for Your Later Years
- Tough Decisions Made Easier
Check out our parent mentor volunteer program full of parents just like you!
Become a Red Strider! Know someone with diabetes? Walk for them!
Every dollar you give can be doubled until May 15th to help Stop Diabetes!
Scroll through our calendar of EXPOs to find out when there will be one near you.
Ditch the chips! We've got recipes for eight healthy snacks you'll love to eat.
Learn what BIG discounts on auto insurance may await you.
Get motivated with our newly revised “I Hate to Exercise” book
Subscribe to our blog! It’s the best way to see what we’re up to at the Association.
If you have diabetes, join us for the ride!
Order your Diabetes Forecast® today! 25 Tips to healthy living. Click here to start.
Check out our site full of vegetarian meal planning ideas!
Find your local office to get involved in your community.
A new tool to increase the convenience of portion management
Get recipes, tips and more! Join the conversation!
Learn more about Dribble to Stop Diabetes