Diabetes Mellitus, or diabetes, is a group of diseases, marked by high levels of blood sugar (also called glucose). Diabetes results from the body’s inability to use insulin properly so glucose accumulates in the blood. Over time these high levels of blood glucose can cause serious health problems. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body break down sugar in food so the body can use it as energy. "Type 1" diabetes happens when a person does not produce insulin. "Type 2" diabetes, the more common type, happens when a person does not make enough insulin or use it efficiently. People who develop Type 2 diabetes often have prediabetes first. This is a stage when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to indicate.

What you should do to prevent diabetes

  • Enroll in the free Diabetes Prevention Program or other programs; more
  • Contact a Certified Diabetes Outpatient Educator; more
  • Increase your level of physical activity; more
  • Follow a low-fat meal plan and maintain a healthy weight; more
  • Have your blood sugar tested as directed by your healthcare provider;
  • If you smoke or use tobacco quit; more
  • Get a flu and pneumonia shot;
  • If you are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, check with your physician on how to properly control your diabetes to avoid your child being born with birth defect; more
  • Know your risk score by taking a Risk Assessment quiz.

Risk Factors

  • Blood sugar higher than normal;
  • Being over age 45;
  • Having a family history of diabetes;
  • Being overweight;
  • Not exercising regularly;
  • Having high cholesterol or triglycerides, and high blood pressure;
  • Being Hispanic/Latino, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, or Native American;
  • Having high blood sugar during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), or having a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth.
  • People diagnosed with pre-diabetes more