Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for diabetes in adults aged 45 years or older and screening in persons with multiple risk factors regardless of age.
Risk factors for diabetes include:
- HDL < 35 mg/dL or TG > 250 mg/dL
- First-degree relative with diabetes
- High-risk race/ethnicity (African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander)
- Asian Americans with a BMI of greater than or equal to 23 kg/m
- Women who have delivered child greater than 9 lbs. (4 kg) or with gestational diabetes
- HbA1c = 5.7%, impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
Other: PCOS, history of coronary vascular disease (CVD), physical inactivity.
There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help. Other things you can do to help:
Take medicine as prescribed.
Get diabetes self-management education and support.
Make and keep health care appointments.