Type 2 Diabetes
More than 30 million Americans have diabetes (about one in 10) and up to 95 percent have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over 45, but more and more, children, teens and young adults also develop it. More than 700,000 New Yorkers have diabetes, but almost a third don’t know they have it.
Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells to use as energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin well.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and can go unnoticed for a long time (sometimes there are no symptoms at all). Because symptoms can be hard to spot, it’s important to know the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and to see your doctor to get your blood sugar tested if you have any of them.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
You’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you:
• Have prediabetes
• Are overweight
• Are 45 years or older
• Are physically active less than three times a week
Lowering Your Risk for Diabetes
You can reduce your risk of developing diabetes with:
• Exercising regularly (at least three times a week)
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Making wise food choices most of the time. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
A blood test will let you know if you have diabetes. See your doctor to get tested.
Unlike many health conditions, you manage diabetes mostly by yourself, with support from your health care team. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but you can do it. You can help manage your Type 2 diabetes by eating healthily and staying physically active. Your doctor may also prescribe insulin or other injectable medications to help control your blood sugar and avoid complications.
Learn more about living well with diabetes from the New York City Health Department’s health bulletin.