According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 37 million U.S. adults have diabetes — and one in five of them are unaware of it yet. What’s more, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years and more than one in three adults are living with prediabetes. Managing diabetes is possible, though, and there are steps you can take to help prevent and treat some types of diabetes.
There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational.
An autoimmune reaction that prevents the body from making insulin is believed to cause type 1 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps let blood sugar into the body’s cells to use as energy. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, and currently no one knows how to prevent this condition. Five to ten percent of people with diabetes have type 1 and must take insulin daily.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes are unable to keep their blood sugar at healthy levels because their body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Type 2 diabetes, which develops over several years, is the most common type and affects 90-95% of people with diabetes. Though typically diagnosed in adults, more young people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can develop in pregnant women, even if they have never had diabetes. This type of diabetes typically goes away after the baby is born but can result in a higher risk of type 2 diabetes for both the mom and the baby later in life.
In this blog, we’ll focus on how to prevent, identify, and treat type 2 diabetes.
There are several factors that can increase risk for type 2 diabetes. You can be at risk if you:
Even if you have prediabetes, it’s not too late — there are steps you can take to reduce your chance of developing diabetes. Eating healthy foods, staying active, and losing weight can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Research shows that you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 58% by losing 7% of your body weight, or 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds, and by exercising for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Looking for the best foods for diabetes prevention and management? Try these recipes or create your own that include these superfoods:
Watching for symptoms if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes is vital. Symptoms can include:
Talk to your health care provider if you experience these symptoms. You may need to have a blood test. Kits are available to test for diabetes at home, but it’s best to have your health care provider perform your test at a lab.
Your health care provider can help you develop a treatment plan if you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This can include self-education resources, support services, and medication, if necessary. RMHP can also provide Members with tools and resources to help with managing diabetes. Remember: you’re not alone, and you have support on your journey to your healthy best.