Diabetes basics: what you need to know

Educating yourself and your family about Diabetes is the first step to prevention. For those living with Diabetes, knowing how to properly manage the disease lets them live a healthier and longer life.   


Before people develop Type 2 Diabetes, they usually experience Pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough for you to be considered diabetic. There are no exact symptoms of Pre-diabetes; however, those with Pre-diabetes might display some of the symptoms of Diabetes. Losing weight and exercising are two ways you can help reduce high blood sugar and prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes is when your blood sugar becomes too high, a condition known as hyperglycemia. If your A1C test, a measure of your average blood glucose, is greater than or equal to 6.5%, you are considered a diabetic.¹

There are three primary types of Diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational.

Type 1Type 2Gestational

Who is at risk?

Typically diagnosed in children and young adults; however, this type of Diabetes, previously known as “Juvenile Diabetes,” can be diagnosed at any age

Affects people at any age, including children; however, this type of Diabetes, previously known as “Adult-onset Diabetes,” most often occurs in middle-aged and older people

Occurs during pregnancy; this type of diabetes was previously known as “Gestational Diabetes”

What is it?

Body creates little to no insulin because the immune system destroys the cells that create insulin¹

Body does not use insulin correctly or does not produce enough¹

Body cannot make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy¹

Who is affected?

5% of people with Diabetes have Type 1¹

90% of people with Diabetes have Type 2

18% of pregnancies¹

When does it happen?

Acute onset

Gradual onset

Happens late in pregnancy, usually around the 24th week¹

Symptoms of Diabetes include but are not limited to feeling very thirsty, urinating often, feeling very hungry, feeling very tired, losing weight without trying, experiencing the feeling of pins and needles in your feet, and blurry eyesight.² It is important to know that sometimes people with Diabetes do not exhibit any of these symptoms. When you visit your doctor, you can get one or more blood tests done to determine your blood glucose level, which can confirm whether or not you have Diabetes.

Talk to your doctor about how to manage your glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels so that you are in the normal range for all three.

1. American Diabetes Association, "Diabetes Basics," accessed February 26, 2014, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/?loc=db-slabnav.

2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, "Your Guide to Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2," accessed February 26, 2014, http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/type1and2/.

 Sources

American Diabetes Association, "Diabetes Basics," accessed February 26, 2014, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/?loc=db-slabnav.

Mayo Clinic, "Types of Diabetes: What Are the Differences?," accessed February 26, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-blog/types-of-diabetes/bgp-20056516.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, "Your Guide to Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2," accessed February 26, 2014, http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/type1and2/.

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