Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
Are physically active less than 3 times a week
Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)
You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with simple, proven lifestyle changes such as losing weight if you’re overweight, eating healthier, and getting regular physical activity.
How many people have diabetes?
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 Americans have diabetes and another 84 million adults are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake) that stops your body from making insulin. About 5% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin every day to survive. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
With Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Most people with diabetes—9 in 10—have type 2 diabetes. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (though increasingly in children, teens, and young adults). You may not notice any symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight if you’re overweight, healthy eating, and getting regular physical activity.
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health complications. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born but increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Your baby is more likely to become obese as a child or teen, and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life too.
Is there a cure for diabetes?
There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but healthy lifestyle habits, taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education, and keeping appointments with your health care team can greatly reduce its impact on your life.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s 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, and kidney disease.