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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Type 2 Diabetes

Step 1: Learn About Diabetes

I Have Diabetes.

If you are living with diabetes or have a loved one with the disease, it's important to work together to manage diabetes to stay healthy and prevent complications. Managing diabetes is not easy, but support from family members can make it much easier. The NDEP has resources for making healthy lifestyle choices that not only help people with diabetes manage the disease, but also help keep the whole family healthy!

Here are four key steps to help you control your diabetes and live a long, active life.

Diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. There are two main types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

—the body does not make insulin. Insulin helps the body use glucose from food for energy. People with type 1 need to take insulin every day.

Type 2 diabetes

—the body does not make or use insulin well. People with type 2 often need to take pills and or insulin. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

—may occur when a woman is pregnant. Gestational diabetes raises her risk of getting another type of diabetes, mostly type 2, for the rest of her life. It also raises her child's risk of being overweight and getting diabetes.

Diabetes is serious.

You may have heard people say they have "a touch of diabetes" or "your sugar is a little high." These words suggest that diabetes is not a serious disease. That is not correct. Diabetes is serious, but you can learn to manage it!

All people with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, stay at a healthy weight, and be physically active every day.

Taking good care of yourself and your diabetes can help you feel better. It may help you avoid health problems caused by diabetes, such as:

  • heart disease and stroke.
  • eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or going blind.
  • nerve damage that can cause your hands and feet to feel numb.Some people may even lose a foot or a leg.
  • kidney problems that can cause your kidneys to stop working.
  • gum disease and loss of teeth.

When your blood glucose (blood sugar) is close to normal, you are likely to:

  • have more energy.
  • be less tired and thirsty and urinate less often.
  • heal better and have fewer skin or bladder infections.
  • have fewer problems with your eyesight, feet, and gums.

Learn how caring for your diabetes helps you feel better today and in the future.

Celebrities who have diabetes

After battling high blood sugar for 20 years, Tom Hanks went from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes in 2013.
Photo By: Frazer Harrison

In 1995, singer Patti LaBelle collapsed on stage from type 2 diabetes. But today, she manages the disease with healthy foods and exercise.
Photo By: Frazer Harrison

When Alec Baldwin was diagnosed with prediabetes, he cut out sweets and carbs and lost 30 pounds to lower his blood sugar.
Photo By: Andreas Rentz

David Letterman recently said that he fights high blood sugar—the same night that his guest, Tom Hanks, revealed his own diabetes.
Photo By: Brendan Hoffmann

Fall 2014 Issue: Volume 9 Number 3 Page 14