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Diabetes: A Disease You Can Manage

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is when your blood glucose level, sometimes called blood sugar, is too high. If you have diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin, may not use insulin in the right way, or both. Our bodies change the food we eat into glucose. Insulin helps glucose get into our cells where it can be used to make energy.

What can it lead to?

Diabetes can cause serious health problems such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Blindness (Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness)
  • Nerve damage
  • Circulation problems

Are you at risk?

According to the American Diabetes Association, 10.9 million people age 65 and over have diabetes. Your chance of getting diabetes is higher if you are:

  • Overweight
  • Inactive
  • Have a family history of diabetes

Different types of diabetes

The two most common forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Currently there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, but type 2 may be preventable in people at risk.

Preventing diabetes

You can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating healthy foods

Signs to watch for:

  • Excessive thirst and appetite
  • Increased urination
  • Unusual weight loss or gain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of feeling or tingling in the feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin infections
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts

Managing diabetes

Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed by:

  • Making good food choices
  • Getting tests to help manage your diabetes (cholesterol tests, a blood pressure check, and a dilated eye exam are all important)
  • Talking to your doctor about what is right for you

More resources from our Health Library:

1This information was taken from the CDC, PDF for reference.

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