Diabetes (or diabetes mellitus) is a metabolism disorder in which blood glucose levels are above normal for an extended period of time because the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin, or both. Elevated blood glucose levels can cause long-term complications for blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Three types of diabetes:
type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. This autoimmune disease is typically diagnosed by early adulthood, often in children. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable or reversible. The condition is either present at birth or the body's ability to produce insulin declines over time.
type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin and/or does not use it. This is the most common type of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes typically develops over time. Eating healthy and being physically active to manage your weight can help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
gestational diabetes, high blood glucose levels develop during pregnancy and typically return to normal after delivery. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Without lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity, most people with prediabetes will get type 2 diabetes within 5 to 6 years. Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people with prediabetes.
Am I at risk to develop prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?
Take the Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that testing to detect prediabetes and type 2 diabetes be considered in adults without symptoms who are overweight or obese and have one or more additional risk factors for diabetes. Talk with your doctor to determine if testing is right for you.
Where can I get help in preventing type 2 diabetes?
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a group-based, structured lifestyle change program that helps participants make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes. A lifestyle coach works with a group of participants to help them lose weight through healthy eating, being more physically active, and learning to recognize and overcome barriers to healthy eating and physical activity. DPP consists of 16 weekly sessions, followed by 6 monthly sessions.
Click here to find out if there is an organization giving DPP near you.
Where can I get help in managing my type 2 diabetes?
You should see a health care provider who will monitor your diabetes and help you learn to manage your diabetes. Talk with your doctor about the need for oral medication, insulin, or both to control your blood glucose levels.
In addition, ask your health care provider to refer you to Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) services available in your community. DSME is a collaborative process through which people with diabetes gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify their behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions. Find an American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) accredited or an American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognized DSME program near you by clicking on your county on the map