What Is Diabetes?
People with diabetes have problems converting food to energy and have high blood glucose (sugar) levels. There are different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes results when a person is not able to produce insulin in the pancreas.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs because a person’s muscle, liver and fat cells do not use insulin effectively.
- Gestational diabetes occurs in later stages of a pregnancy because the hormones produced in pregnancy alter the body’s ability to effectively use insulin.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?
More than 6 million Americans have type 2 diabetes and do not know it. Many people do not have signs or symptoms of the disease and only learn they have diabetes when they see a doctor for an unrelated problem or routine health screening. Some people do have symptoms:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- Increased urination, especially at night
- Unplanned weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Sores that do not heal
You Are at a Higher Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes if:
- You have previously been diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or pre-diabetes.
- A parent, brother or sister has diabetes.
- You are Hispanic/Latino, African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
- You exercise less than 3 times per week.
- You have been told you have high blood pressure, or your blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or higher.
- You have high cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol or elevated serum triglyceride levels.
- You have a history of cardiovascular disease.
- You have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the past, or if you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lb.
- You have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS—women only.
- You have other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance, like acanthosis nigricans.
If you have concerns about diabetes, talk to your primary care provider. Early detection and intervention can reduce your risk of complications.