Preventing and Managing Diabetes
What is diabetes?
- Your body changes the food you eat into sugar, which it uses for energy.
- Diabetes is a health condition that causes sugar to build up in your blood, instead of being used by your body.
If you have diabetes, your cells cannot use sugar for energy.
- The body is able to use sugar by making a chemical called ‘insulin.’
- Insulin controls the amount of sugar in your blood.
- If you have diabetes, you do not have enough insulin, or the insulin is not working in the correct way.
There are two types of diabetes.
- If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make any insulin.
- If you have type 2 diabetes
- Your body does not make enough insulin, or
- Your body does make insulin, but does not use it correctly.
Anyone can get diabetes.
- Diabetes is very common.
- But, you are more likely to develop diabetes if you:
- Are overweight or obese
- Are over the age of 40
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are African-American, Hispanic, or Native American
Diabetes can make you very sick.
- Too much or too little sugar in your blood could cause you to lose consciousness.
- Over time, diabetes can lead to:
- Damage to your nerves or kidneys
- Eye trouble, including blindness
- Unhealthy feet, or even having your foot or leg removed
- Heart disease
You may be able to tell if you are developing diabetes.
- Some common symptoms of diabetes are:
- Constant hunger and/or thirst
- Needing to urinate more than usual
- Frequent vaginal infections
- Feeling tired
- Sleeping more than usual
More signs of diabetes:
- Other commons symptoms are:
- Blurry vision
- Numb or tingling hands or feet
- Cuts or sores that do not heal
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
If you notice these signs, see your doctor right away!
- Your doctor will be able to tell if you are developing diabetes.
- Your doctor will test the amount of sugar that is in your blood.
- If your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, this may mean that you have diabetes.
You can manage diabetes and stay healthy.
- Managing diabetes means learning to control the amount of sugar in your blood.
- Your doctor will give you advice, which may include:
- A special food plan
- An exercise plan
- Blood sugar tests
Your support provider can help you manage diabetes.
- Managing diabetes can be complicated. You may need to:
- plan and cook special meals
- remember when to take your medication, or need help taking medication.
- Ask for help if you need it!
You can talk to your doctor about managing diabetes.
- You may need to change your diet from time to time.
- Find out if a physical activity that you enjoy is safe for you, and exercise for 30 minutes each day.
- Test your blood sugar often and know what the normal level should be.
- Know when and how to take your medications.
If you do not have diabetes, you may be able to prevent it.
- You can prevent type 2 diabetes by:
- Exercising regularly (30 minutes on most days)
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Eating plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and nuts
- Eating less sugary foods, fast foods, and soda
You can learn more.
Check out these other resources as well!
- For a “Diabetes Health Record Card” go to: