Female Latina patient holds up medical device at outdoor health screening event

Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

What to know

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body does not make enough of or correctly use the hormone insulin. When that happens, sugar builds up in the blood. This can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease.

How can you prevent diabetes?

Control your weight and exercise regularly. Diet also matters. In one study, people with diabetes who replaced white bread with high-fiber bread had lower blood sugar levels, plus reduced cholesterol and blood pressure.

What are your risks?

If people in your family have diabetes, you may have a higher risk for the disease. Here are some other risk factors:

  • Age—more than half of diabetes cases happen in people age 45 and older
  • Being African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American
  • Being overweight
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Having a history of blood sugar that is higher than normal during pregnancy

Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Weight loss, tiredness, and drowsiness
  • Frequent infections of the skin, gums, bladder, or vagina
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Blurred vision
  • Numb hands or feet

You may have diabetes for years before you see symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get screened on a regular basis.

Managing diabetes

If you already have diabetes, it’s not too late to take control:

  • Eat better. Choose foods that are low in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Move more. Get about 30 minutes of activity every day.
  • Take your medicine. This includes medicine for diabetes and medicine for other health problems.
  • See your healthcare team. Get a checkup at least twice a year. If you have new symptoms or see changes in your health, don’t wait. Contact your doctor.

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