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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, and amputation.

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 Native Americans.

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 more information.

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