An estimated 26 million Americans have diabetes.

And more than one-third of them don’t even know it.

April is Defeat Diabetes Month, and it’s a great time to learn more about what can put you at risk for this dangerous condition. And if you are at greater risk, learn how to take action to protect your health.

What is it?

The most common form of diabetes is Type 2, a condition where your body can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Without treatment, those high blood sugar levels can damage your heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Am I at risk?

Talk to your health care provider about your risk for developing this disease. Some common risk factors include:
– Being overweight
– Having high blood sugar levels
– Having gestational diabetes during a pregnancy
– High blood pressure
– Unhealthy cholesterol levels
– Physical inactivity
– Smoking
– Unhealthy eating
– Age, race, gender and family history of diabetes

A plan of action

The good news is that many of these factors are under your control. You can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes through healthy eating, adding more physical activity to your lifestyle and talking to your doctor about appropriate screening tests.

In our next blog we’ll give you some ideas about simple steps you can take to lower your risks for diabetes and feel better today.