Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough — or any — insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
What are the different types of diabetes?
The most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
As of 2015, 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. According to the latest report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. More than 1 in 4 of them didn’t know they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.
You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems — such as high blood pressure — also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.
Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to reverse prediabetes and stay healthy.
These are just some of the good-for-you habits that can reverse prediabetes, ensuring you never get the real thing.
- Nudge the scales: Shedding even 10 pounds significantly slashes your risk.
- Right appetizer: Eating greens with a vinaigrette before a starchy entrée may help control your blood sugar levels.
- Walk: Walk as much as you can every day. You’ll be healthier — even if you don’t lose any weight.
- Be a cereal connoisseur: Selecting a higher whole grain cereal can help you slim down, and steady blood sugar.
- Indulge your coffee cravings: If you’re a coffee fan, keep on sipping. Coffee may keep diabetes at bay.
- Ditch the drive-thru: If you’re a regular “fast fooder,” your diabetes risk skyrockets.
- Go veggie more often: Consider red meat a treat — not something to eat daily.
- Spice up: Cinnamon may help rein in high blood sugar.
- Unwind: Chronic stress can send blood sugar levels soaring.
- Rest: There’s a sleep sweet spot when it comes to preventing diabetes.
- Keep good company: People who live alone are more likely to smoke, consume alcohol, and have an unhealthy diet. If you live solo, take care of yourself.
- Have a blood test: Many diabetes symptoms are silent.