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Diabetes

Let's Talk About Diabetes

Everything you ever wanted to know (and then some) on the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this chronic condition, and how to keep living your life, disease be damned.

    Our Pro PanelDiabetes

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in diabetes to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Katherine Araque, M.D.

    Katherine Araque, M.D.Director of Endocrinology

    Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center
    Santa Monica, CA
    Stelios Mantis, M.D.

    Stelios Mantis, M.D.Pediatric Endocrinologist

    Rush University Medical Center
    Chicago, IL
    Peter Goulden, M.D.

    Peter Goulden, M.D.Medical Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

    Mount Sinai St. Luke's
    New York, NY
    Diabetes statistics: type 1 diabetes is the most common chronic condition in children, percentage of diabetes patients who have type 2, number of Americans with diabetes, number of people with undiagnosed diabetes, number of U.S. adults with prediabetes
    Nikki Cagle
    close up of eye wearing glasses
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    Symptoms of diabetes: unquenchable thirst, getting more infections, frequent urination, weight loss, blurry vision, hunger after eating, fatigue
    Nikki Cagle
    Common diabetes treatments include insulin, oral medications, home glucose meter, diet and exercise
    Nikki Cagle

    Frequently Asked QuestionsDiabetes

    How many Americans have diabetes?

    About 23 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes. It’s estimated that another 7 million have it, but don’t know it yet. An additional 80 million Americans have prediabetes—higher-than-normal blood sugar that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of the disease: Between 90 and 95 percent of people with diabetes have it.

    Is diabetes a disease?

    Yes, diabetes is a disease that causes people to have higher-than-normal levels of sugar (or glucose) in their blood. There are three main types: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that stops the pancreas from producing insulin. In type 2, most people make enough insulin, but their bodies don’t use it well. Gestational diabetes only happens during pregnancy.

    What are signs I have diabetes?

    The disease is sneaky: It can have almost no visible symptoms. That’s why the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for adults over 40 who have risk factors such as abdominal obesity. Some signs to look out for include extreme thirst, blurry vision, and an increased need to pee.

    How do you test for diabetes?

    The first step is a blood test, usually the A1C (or glycated hemoglobin) test which measures what percentage of your red blood cells have been coated with glucose over the past two to three months. The higher your blood sugar, the higher your score: A result below 5.7 is considered normal; 5.7 to 6.4 is prediabetic; 6.5 or above suggests diabetes.

    Sunny Sea Gold

    Sunny Sea Gold

    @sunnyseagold

    Sunny is a health journalist, book author, and essayist living in Portland, OR.