Know the Risks and Signs of Diabetes
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Know the Risks and Signs of Diabetes

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes affects about 1 in every 11 Americans, and more than 29 million are currently living with the disease.

1 in 3 U.S. adults has pre-diabetes, and most don’t know it.*

There are three types of diabetes – Type 1, Type 2, and gestational. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and it accounts for only 5% of people with diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs during some women’s pregnancies but usually resolves itself once the baby is born.

Type 2 is by far the most common and preventable form of diabetes. Risk factors include being overweight, having high blood pressure or unhealthy cholesterol, and lifestyle factors like physical inactivity, smoking, and unhealthy eating. Age, race, gender, family history, and a history of previous gestational diabetes also may play a part.

With Type 2 diabetes, the body over time develops insulin resistance, which affects blood glucose levels. This imbalance can in turn affect organ function, the skin, eyesight, and nerves.

Living with Diabetes

There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, but it can be managed. If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you’ll need to pay close attention to diet and exercise, and you may need medication.

Tips from the American Diabetes Association:

  • Carbohydrates contribute to elevated glucose levels. You will want to make a meal plan that helps you track your intake. Some use the glycemic index, while others count carbs.
  • Fill most of your plate with non-starchy vegetables; limit starchy foods and meats.
  • Try to exercise a total of 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
  • If you overdo it in one meal, sometimes a walk or run can help burn off extra carbs.

Your doctor may need to prescribe oral medications (pills) and/or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels.

The good news is that many people living with Type 2 diabetes have long and healthful lives!

Further resources:

American Diabetes Association:
Medical care for people with diabetes:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

*source: CDC

1A Snapshot of Diabetes in America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/

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