Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough
insulin or insulin is not used effectively. The body needs
insulin in order to convert food into energy.
2. Is diabetes a serious
disease? Diabetes with its complications is the fifth
leading cause of death by disease in the United States. These
complications include blindness, kidney disease, heart failure,
3. Who is likely to
develop diabetes? Individuals at a greater risk of
developing diabetes are people increasing in age, people who are
overweight, people with a history of diabetes in their family,
women who have given birth to babies weighing more than nine
pounds, women who have a history of gestational diabetes, and
African-Americans, Latinos, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and
4. What are the symptoms
of diabetes? Frequent urination, excessive thirst, dramatic
weight loss, fatigue, blurring vision, wounds that are slow to
heal, tingling in the toes or feet, skin and gum infections,
bladder infections, and genital itching.
5. Isn't it obvious you
have diabetes? Not always. In fact, out of the 25.8 million
Americans who have diabetes, about 7 million don't know they
have the disease. This is because it often does not produce
symptoms or the symptoms are misinterpreted.
6. How can I find out if
I have diabetes? Diabetes can be quickly and easily
diagnosed by a simple blood test in your doctor's office.
7. What is the treatment
for diabetes? Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin
injections, exercise, and a special diet. Type 2 diabetes is
treated with diet and exercise, although pills and/or insulin
therapy are required in most cases. Both Type 1 and Type 2
treatments should include lifestyle management programs that
help the person with diabetes regain control over his or her
diabetes and life.
8. Can diabetes be cured
with insulin injections? Insulin is a treatment, not a cure.
Currently there is no cure for diabetes, although promising
advances have been made in the areas of diabetes research, such
as improved ways of monitoring blood sugar levels and delivering
insulin to the body.
9. Is the incidence of
diabetes increasing? Yes. 1.6 million new cases of diabetes
were diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older in 2007. This increase has been attributed to the
growing number of people who are overweight and lead sedentary
lifestyles. People are also living longer, and we are seeing an
increase of diabetes among the elderly.
10. Is there anything I can do to reduce my
risk of developing diabetes? Yes. Eat well-balanced meals,
maintain your ideal weight, and exercise. See your physician for
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