What You Need to Know About Diabetes

In the United States, 
29.1 million people have diabetes and
8.1 million of those who have the disease 
are undiagnosed. 

What is diabetes?

  • Diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood, because your body no longer makes enough of a hormone called insulin, which helps sugar move from your blood into your cells to keep you healthy.
  • When you don’t have enough insulin to lower high blood sugar levels, you have diabetes.
  • You can’t catch diabetes and you can’t give it to someone else.
  • Diabetes must be treated. High blood sugar levels can cause serious health problems.
  • A simple test by your healthcare provider can determine if you have diabetes.

When should people be tested for diabetes?

  • Everyone over age 45 should be tested for diabetes, especially if they are overweight.
  • People who are under 45 years of age and overweight have a higher risk for developing diabetes and should be screened.

How do I lower my risk for diabetes?  

  • If you are overweight, lose 5-7% of your body weight.
  • Exercise 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
  • Make healthy food choices, such as more fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Choose healthy portions of food.

What medications are available to treat diabetes?

  • Diabetes is treated with a variety of medicines. Some are medicines you take by mouth, such as a tablet, others are injectable medicines including insulin.

Why is it important to prevent or treat diabetes?  

  • Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die of heart disease or have a stroke.
  • Diabetes can lead to blindness.
  • Diabetes may cause permanent damage to your kidneys.
  • Nerves in your hands and feet may become damaged and cause numbness, tingling, and pain.
  • Diabetes may cause problems with your teeth and mouth.
  • Diabetes doubles your risk for infection.