Each November communities across the country observe National Diabetes Month to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.
What is diabetes?
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes – Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live.
- Type 2 Diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes – Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.
What can I do to prevent Diabetes?
Some tips for preventing diabetes in patients include:
- Portion control when eating
- Be active– practice physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day
- Making smart food choices
- Setting aside time to relax and de-stress
- Keep track of your cholesterol and blood pressure
Taking care of yourself and your diabetes can help you feel good today and in the future. When your blood sugar (glucose) is close to normal, you are likely to:
- have more energy
- be less tired and thirsty
- need to pass urine less often
- heal better
- have fewer skin or bladder infections
You will also have less chance of having health problems caused by diabetes such as:
- heart attack or stroke
- eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or going blind
- pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet, also called nerve damage
- kidney problems that can cause your kidneys to stop working
- teeth and gum problems
Living with diabetes can be challenging to manage every day. Remember: You are the most important member of your diabetes care team, and you don’t have to manage your diabetes alone. Seek support from health professionals, your family, friends, and community to help you manage your diabetes!
For more tips and resources on managing your diabetes, or helping a friend or family member with diabetes, visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website.