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Diabetes

[dahy-uh-bee-teez]

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Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake) that stops your body from making insulin, a hormone that acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.  With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. When there isn’t enough insulin or when cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

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Key Facts

  • More than 30 million Americans are living with diabetes, and more than 84 million have prediabetes.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among working-age adults aged 20-74 years.
  • More than 60% of leg and foot amputations not related to accidents and injuries were performed on people with diabetes.
  • The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.
  • About 1 in 3 adults with diabetes has chronic kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure.
  • Good diabetes care (including self-care) and diabetes self-management education are key to living well with diabetes.
  • People with prediabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but they can take action to prevent or delay developing the disease.

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National Diabetes Prevention Program

Prediabetes is a wake-up call that type 2 diabetes could be in your future, but it can be reversed.  The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program has been proven to help people make the lifestyle changes needed to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Through the program, participants:

  • Work with a trained coach to make lasting lifestyle changes.
  • Discover how to eat healthy and add more physical activity into their day.
  • Find out how to manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can slow progress.

If you are told you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a National Diabetes Prevention Program offered in your community.

Visit CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation to learn more.

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