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 (jest-TAY-shun-al) 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.
How to learn more about diabetes.
- Take classes to learn more about living with diabetes. To find a class, check with your healthcare team, hospital, or area health clinic. You can also search online.
- Join a support group — in-person or online — to get peer support for managing your diabetes.
- Read about diabetes online. Go to National Diabetes Education Program.
Take Diabetes Seriously
You may have heard people say they have “a touch of diabetes” or that their “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.
People with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, stay at a healthy weight, move more every day, and take their medicine even when they feel good. It’s a lot to do. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
Why take care of your diabetes?
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
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program(NDEP) is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.