Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Type 2 diabetes develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which lets the blood sugar into your cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems such as heart disease, vision loss, nerve damage and kidney disease.

Risk Factors for Diabetes:

  • Having prediabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges.

Race and ethnicity are also a factor: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk of developing diabetes.

    Symptoms of Diabetes

    If you have any of the following diabetes symptoms, visit with your doctor and ask for a blood sugar test:

    • Frequent urination, often at night
    • Are very thirsty
    • Lose weight without trying
    • Are very hungry
    • Have blurry vision
    • Have numb or tingling hands or feet
    • Feel very tired
    • Have very dry skin
    • Have sores that heal slowly
    • Have more infections than usual

    What is Prediabetes?

    Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is up, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes can do things to decrease their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. The National Diabetes Prevention Program helps prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes.

    Risk factors for type 2 diabetes:

    • Being overweight
    • Having a family history
    • Being physically inactive
    • Being 45 and older

    If you have any of these risk factors, you are encouraged to visit with your doctor. A blood test may be ordered to test your A1C and glucose numbers. Type 2 diabetes is highly preventable. 

    Diabetes Prevention

    Did you know, that 1 out of 3 adults have prediabetes? Prediabetes is a period in time when your blood glucose levels are slightly elevated, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. The good news is, type 2 diabetes is highly preventable. 

    Type 2 diabetes is highly preventable. A few simple lifestyle changes can make a difference. Here are some things that can be done to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

    • Lose weight and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight. 
    • Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. 
    • Eat healthy foods most of the time. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. 

    Managing Diabetes

    There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but healthy lifestyle habits like eating well and getting physically active can greatly reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

    Taking medicine as needed, not smoking, and keeping health care appointments are important in taking control of diabetes.

    Diabetes self-management education programs provide knowledge and skills for people who want to manage their diabetes. The program teaches how to:

    • eat healthily
    • be active
    • monitor blood sugar levels
    • take medication
    • problem solve
    • reduce the risk for other health conditions
    • cope with diabetes

    Diabetes Resource Links