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Will Diabetes Be Part of Your Story?

Man comparing mother's and son's heightKnow your risk for diabetes and see if it could be a part of your story.

Everyone has a story complete with the heritage we're given and choices that we make, such as having curly hair, being tall, or loving the outdoors. Our stories are full of memories.

We watch our parents and grandparents deal with health challenges; we savor familiar family meals and remember playing outside on a summer day. Then we become adults and have many responsibilities, including caring for our own health and the health of our families.

Most people's story likely includes themselves, or a family member, or a friend dealing with the burden of diabetes. Is diabetes part of your story?

November is National Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Be aware of your risk for type 2 diabetes today.

What You Should Know

You are at increased risk for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are 45 years of age or older.
  • Are overweight.
  • Have a parent with diabetes.
  • Have a sister or brother with diabetes.
  • Have a family background that is African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific-Islander.
  • Had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
  • Are physically active less than three times a week.
Grandmother on swing with grandchildren

Remember family health challenges: learn your risk for type 2 diabetes now.

Family having a picnic on grass

Our story likely includes ourselves, a friend, or a family member dealing with diabetes.

Is it you?

  • 2 out of every 5 Americans are expected to develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime.
  • More than 29 million Americans have diabetes; 1 in 4 doesn't know.
  • 86 million adults – more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults – have prediabetes, where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. 
  • More than 1 in 2 Hispanic men and women (over 50%) non-Hispanic black women are predicted to develop diabetes, reports a major study of over 1 million U.S. adults between 1985 and 2011.
  • While new cases of diagnosed diabetes may be levelling off, some groups continue to see an increased burden of type 2 diabetes. Now is the time to double down to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

What's the cost?

In 2012, diabetes and its related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages.

While more people are being diagnosed with diabetes, they are also living longer with the disease. This puts a strain on our healthcare system and will continue to increase the need for health services, as well as increase the costs to manage the disease. Care is improving, but more people are being diagnosed because of more obesity, due to bigger food portion sizes, greater total dietary intake, and individuals using less energy.

What are Diabetes and Prediabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. 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.

A person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough yet for a diagnosis of diabetes. He or she is at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke.

Extended family smiling

Will diabetes be part of your story?

What You Can Do

Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people with prediabetes. Modest weight loss means 5% to 7% of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important.

The lifestyle change program offered through the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by CDC, can help participants adopt the healthy habits needed to prevent type 2 diabetes. You can find a program in your community.

Will diabetes be part of your story?

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