Learn Your Risk for Diabetes and Take Steps to Protect Your Health. If you are diagnosed in the early stages of diabetes, you can take better care of yourself and get treatment. If you have pre-diabetes, you can take steps to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Yet almost one-quarter of people with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have the disease. Many Americans with pre-diabetes also do not realize they have this condition, a diagnosis which raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Knowing your risk lets you take charge of your health by making lifestyle changes, such as staying physically active and eating nutritious foods.
Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
Most Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes (also called adult-onset diabetes). You are at higher risk if you are:
- Have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Age 45 or older
- Developed diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)
- Are not physically active
- Belong to certain racial or ethnic groups. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.
The lifetime risk of diabetes for people born in the United States in 2000 is:
- For all Americans: 1 of 3
- For African American and Hispanic males: 2 of 5
- For African American and Hispanic females: 1 of 2
To find out more about the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and to check your risk, take this short test from the National Diabetes Education Program, which is sponsored by CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). If you think you are at risk, talk to your health care provider about getting tested.
Learn More About Pre-diabetes and Diabetes
People with pre-diabetes are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and eye disease. Almost everyone who develops type 2 diabetes has pre-diabetes first.
People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose (blood sugar) levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes within 10 years and they are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and the loss of feet or legs. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in America.
Ways You Can Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Even if you have pre-diabetes, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by changing some habits, studies have shown. You can do it by losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight if you are overweight – that’s 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.
Two keys to success:
- Get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking, at least five days a week
- Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and reduce the number of calories you eat per day.
Diabetes Information and Resources
CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT) offers a range of information on diabetes, including details on prevention; diabetes control and maintenance; risk factors; complications; tips for a healthy lifestyle; and other diabetes related information. In addition, DDT offers significant data and trend information on diabetes (and relating issues) for the nation and all 50 states including county level data.
The National Diabetes Education Program, a joint CDC and NIH program, offers many resources to help prevent type 2 diabetes (Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes) and to control diabetes (4 Steps to Control Your Diabetes. For Life). These include brochures, tip sheets, provider kits, public service announcements, and more for people with diabetes, people at risk, family members, work sites and health professionals.
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