Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose
levels are higher than normal but are not high enough
for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes
are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes
and for heart disease and stroke. The good news
is if you have pre-diabetes, you can reduce your
risk of getting diabetes. With modest weight loss
and moderate physical activity, you can delay or
prevent type 2 diabetes and even return to normal
What are the signs of diabetes?
The signs of diabetes are:
- being very thirsty
- urinating often
- feeling very hungry or tired
- losing weight without trying
- having sores that heal slowly
- having dry, itchy skin
- losing the feeling in your feet or having
tingling in your feet
- having blurry eyesight
You may have had one or more of these
signs before you found out you had diabetes. Or
you may have had no signs at all. A blood test to
check your glucose levels will show if you have
pre-diabetes or diabetes.
What kind of diabetes do you have?
People can get diabetes at any age. There are three
main kinds. Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile
diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is usually
first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young
adults. In this form of diabetes, the beta cells
of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the
body's immune system has attacked and destroyed
them. Treatment for type 1 diabetes includes taking
insulin shots or using an insulin pump, making wise
food choices, exercising regularly, taking aspirin
daily (for some), and controlling blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset
diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the
most common form of diabetes. People can develop
type 2 diabetes at any age--even during childhood.
This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin
resistance, a condition in which fat, muscle, and
liver cells do not use insulin properly. At first,
the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing
more insulin. In time, however, it loses the ability
to secrete enough insulin in response to meals.
Being overweight and inactive increases the chances
of developing type 2 diabetes. Treatment includes
using diabetes medicines, making wise food choices,
exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily, and
controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
Some women develop gestational diabetes
during the late stages of pregnancy. Although this
form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby
is born, a woman who has had it is more likely to
develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Gestational
diabetes is caused by the hormones of pregnancy
or a shortage of insulin.
Diabetes can start at any age.
This guide is for people who have
either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Why do you need to take care of your diabetes?
After many years, diabetes can lead to serious problems
in your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and gums and teeth.
But the most serious problem caused by diabetes
is heart disease. When you have diabetes, you are
more than twice as likely as people without diabetes
to have heart disease or a stroke.
If you have diabetes, your risk of
a heart attack is the same as someone who has already
had a heart attack. Both women and men with diabetes
are at risk. You may not even have the typical signs
of a heart attack.
You can reduce your risk of developing
heart disease by controlling your blood pressure
and blood fat levels. If you smoke, talk with your
doctor about quitting. Remember that every step
toward your goals helps!
Later in this guide, we'll tell you
how you can try to prevent or delay long-term problems.
The best way to take care of your health is to work
with your health care team to keep your blood glucose,
blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target range.
What's a desirable blood glucose level?
Everyone's blood has some glucose in it. In people
who don't have diabetes, the normal range is about
70 to 120. Blood glucose goes up after eating, but
returns to the normal range 1 or 2 hours later.
Ask your health care team when you
should check your blood glucose with a meter. Talk
about whether the blood glucose targets listed below
are best for you. Then write in your own targets.