National Diabetes Month: What is Diabetes and Its Risk Factors?


National Diabetes Month is observed every November to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. Did you know that more than 12% of U.S. adults are currently affected by diabetes? If you have diabetes, or are at risk for diabetes, the earlier you know the better. Early action can help prevent diabetes-related health problems in the future. As a part of engaging in National Diabetes Month, we want to educate you on the different types and risks of diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes – Your body does not make insulin, which is a problem because insulin takes sugar (glucose) from foods you eat and turns it into energy for your body.
  • Type 2 diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well—this is the most common type of diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes – Develops in some women when they are pregnant, and often goes away after the baby is born.
  • Prediabetes – Your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Currently, 86 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3—have prediabetes. Without diet and exercise, 15%-30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

Risk Factors

Could you have diabetes and not know it? One in four Americans with diabetes has it and does not know it. There are many factors that increase risk for diabetes. To find out about your risk, note the following items that may apply to you:

  • 45 years of age or older
  • Overweight
  • Parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • Family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • Had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • Have been told that your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal
  • Your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, or have been told you have high blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels are not normal
  • Physically active less than three times a week
  • The skin around your neck or in your armpits appears dirty or dark no matter how much you scrub

If you have wondered if you are at risk, you can also take this type 2 diabetes risk assessment.

If you have any of the items above, it is important to talk with your doctor about your risk for diabetes and whether you should be tested.



One thought on “National Diabetes Month: What is Diabetes and Its Risk Factors?

  1. Pingback: National Diabetes Month: Detecting and Managing Type 2 Diabetes | Chat and Chew

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