You have the power to prevent and control diabetes. If you already have diabetes, work to lower your risk of serious complications. If you don't have the disease, learn if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
America is facing an epidemic of diabetes, a serious disease that damages bodies and shortens lives. In the next four decades, the number of US adults with diabetes is estimated to double or triple, according to US CDC scientists. That means anywhere from 20 to 33 percent of adults could have the disease. About 1 in 9 adults have diabetes now, and it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.
If you already have diabetes, managing the disease can lower your risk of complications such as kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, blindness, and amputations of legs and feet. Here are some important steps to take to control diabetes:
- Talk to your health care provider about how to manage your blood glucose (A1c), blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Stop smoking and do not use any other tobacco products.
- Get a flu vaccine. For those with diabetes, type 1 and type 2, it is important to ask for the "shot" version. Talk to your health care provider about a pneumonia (pneumococcal) shot. People with diabetes are more likely to die from pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes. CDC recommends that everybody aged 6 months and older get a flu vaccine, including family members of people with diabetes.
- Reach or stay at a healthy weight.
- Make sure you're physically active. Plan for 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of moderate physical activity, such as walking quickly or gardening, or 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or jumping rope. Add muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days each week. Physical activity can help you control your weight, blood glucose, and blood pressure, as well as raise your "good" cholesterol and lower your "bad" cholesterol.
Ways You Can Help Prevent Diabetes
Having a condition called prediabetes means you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 3 to 6 years. People with prediabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. An estimated one of every three U.S. adults has prediabetes, yet just 7% of those with prediabetes know they have it. Prediabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Click below to learn whether or not you are at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Research trials have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in people at high risk for the disease who make lifestyle changes. Weight loss of 5 to 7 percent (about 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week can reduce or delay the development of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent. You can find written and electronic resources to help through the National Diabetes Education Program, sponsored by US CDC and the National Institutes of Health, and community-based group classes through the US CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.