What is Diabetes?Info circle related to diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 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.

Possible symptoms may include some or all of the following: frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, sudden vision changes, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, feeling very tired much of the time, very dry skin, sores that are slow to heal, more infections than usual.

Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.​

Find out if you are at risk...

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.​ Read more.

How do you prevent it?

Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. Eat a variety of food that are low in fat and reduce the number of calories you eat per day.​ Read more.

What do you do if you have it?

  • Eat a healthy diabetic diet (see a registered dietician for a meal plan), maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, manage stress, avoid tobacco, and take medications as directed
  • Visit your Primary Care Provider regularly, include foot exam and an annual eye exams.
  • Learn how to achieve target glucose levels and avoid complications by meeting with a diabetes educator and/or registered dietician. Examine your feet daily.
  • Visit the National Diabetes Education Program website that allows you to enter information and tailor resources to your needs. Provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Health Plan Resources

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