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American Diabetes Month is a time to raise awareness of diabetes prevention and control. In the United States, nearly 26 million children and adults are living with diabetes and 79 million more are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children with type 1 diabetes can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy, happy lives.
In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications
Gestational Diabetes occurs during pregnancy -- usually around the 24th week --many women develop gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn't mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. But it's important to follow your doctor's advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you're planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy.
You can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, maintain a healthy weight...with these positive steps, you can stay healthier longer and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Who is at Greater Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
- People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
- People over age 45
- People with a family history of diabetes
- People who are overweight
- People who do not exercise regularly
- People with low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure
- Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives)
- Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth
Over time, if it's not controlled, type 2 diabetes can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and blindness.
You can do a lot to lower your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by:
- Eating healthy.
- Watching your weight.
- Being active.
- Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol
Preventing Diabetes: Questions for the doctor
Diabetes is a disease. When you have diabetes, there is too much sugar (called glucose) in your blood.
There is more than one type of diabetes, but type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. People who are overweight and inactive are more likely to get type 2 diabetes. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent type 2 diabetes.
What do I ask the doctor?
Visiting the doctor can be stressful. It helps to have questions written down before your appointment. Print out this list of questions, and take it with you the next time you visit the doctor.
- Am I at risk for type 2 diabetes?
- Does my weight put me at risk for diabetes?
- Are there any warning signs of diabetes I should look out for?
- How can I find out if I have diabetes?
- What should I eat to prevent or delay diabetes?
- How much physical activity should I do to prevent or delay diabetes?
- If I'm overweight, how many pounds do I have to lose to prevent or delay diabetes?
- What are healthy ways to lose weight and keep it off?
- What are my blood pressure numbers and cholesterol levels? What should they be?
- Do my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers put me at risk for diabetes?
- Can you give me information about preventing diabetes to take home?
Learn more about Diabetes and how to manage it at Albemarle Region Diabetes Care Program (DCP). This program is an American Diabetes Association Recognized education program, staffed by Certified Diabetes Educators. Anyone with Type 1, Type 2, or Gestational Diabetes can come with a physician referral. People diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome may be also eligible to come for individual visits with a registered dietitian. For more information call 338-4370 or visit our website at http://www.arhs-nc.org/services/clinicalservices/diabetes/