You can do a lot to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes (“dy-ah-BEE-teez”), including:
- Watching your weight
- Eating healthy
- Staying active
- Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Quitting smoking
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. If it’s not controlled, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems.
The good news is that small steps to prevent diabetes can lead to big rewards. Make a plan to prevent type 2 diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease. When you have diabetes, there is too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. Over time, if it’s not controlled, diabetes can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and blindness.
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Diabetes can’t be cured, but it can be controlled.
What is type 2 diabetes?
There is more than one type of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. People who are overweight are more likely to get type 2 diabetes.
The food you eat turns into glucose (“GLOO-kohs”). Your blood carries glucose to other parts of the body. Your body depends on glucose for energy.
When you have diabetes, your body has trouble turning glucose into energy. Instead of being used by your body, the glucose builds up in your blood. The rest of your body is starved of energy.
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes means the amount of glucose in your blood is higher than normal. If you have pre-diabetes, you are at risk for serious health problems, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Find out more about pre-diabetes.
Am I at risk for diabetes?
You may be at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are overweight
- Exercise less than 3 times a week
- Have had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
- Have had a baby with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
- Are over 45 years old
- Have high blood pressure or cholesterol
- Are African American, Hispanic or Latino American, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
What are the signs of diabetes?
Many people with diabetes don’t know they have the disease. Some signs of diabetes include:
- Being very thirsty or very hungry
- Feeling tired for no reason
- Urinating (going to the bathroom) more than usual
- Losing weight for no reason
- Having cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
- Having trouble seeing (blurry vision)
- Losing feeling or having tingling in your hands or feet
Not everyone who has diabetes has these signs. If you have any of these signs or think you may be at risk, go to the doctor for a blood glucose test.