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Facing Diabetes: What You Need to Know

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month—The National Institutes of Health, with the Centers for Disease Control and the American Diabetes Association, have launched new educational campaigns to alert all Americans to the dangers of diabetes. The following special section covers what you need to know to protect you and your loved ones.

Nick Jonas Jay Cutler Patti LaBelle Sonia Sotomayor

Photos: AP

The Faces of Diabetes

Diabetes strikes millions of Americans, young and old, rich and poor, famous or not. Here are four role models who are successfully controlling their disease. You will find stories about others with diabetes in this section.

(From left to right)

Nick Jonas: Teen singing sensation Nick Jonas, leader of the Jonas Brothers band, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005. A role model for other teens with diabetes and a champion of good diabetes management, he speaks out for more research.

Jay Cutler: Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008, the Chicago Bears quarterback wears an insulin pump to help control his diabetes. Off the gridiron, he raises funds for children with diabetes.

Patti LaBelle: It was only after collapsing on stage during a performance that the popular songstress learned she had type 2 diabetes. Since then, she exercises regularly to help control it and has authored healthy-eating cookbooks.

Sonia Sotomayor: The new U.S. Supreme Court Justice has had type 1 diabetes since childhood. With the help of her mother, a registered nurse, she has always made sure to control her disease.

Fast Facts

  • There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, usually first diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults; type 2, once called adult-onset and now among the fastest-growing conditions in Americans of all ages; and gestational diabetes, occurring in some women during pregnancy.
  • With diabetes, the body does not produce or properly use insulin, the hormone that converts sugar, starches, and other foods into the energy for daily living.
  • Diabetes can lead to many complications. The disease can severely damage the heart, kidneys, eyes, skin, legs and feet, nerves, and teeth and gums. It can result in premature death.
  • 23.6 million Americans have diabetes—7.8 percent of the U.S. population. Nearly one in four of those don't know they have it.
  • About 57 million adults aged 20 and older have pre-diabetes. This is a condition where blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Pre-diabetes puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

To Find Out More

Fall 2009 Issue: Volume 4 Number 4 Page 8