According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 million people in the U.S. – 10 percent of the population – have diabetes. Another 88 million people – more than a third of adults in the U.S. – have prediabetes, where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed.
People with diabetes are unable to manage how much glucose exists in their bloodstream. Glucose, a type of sugar, is the main source of energy for the cells in our bodies. A hormone called insulin controls glucose levels, and people who have diabetes often require insulin injections to help maintain healthy glucose levels.
The different types of diabetes
There are three types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is, by far, the most common, representing about 90 percent of people with diabetes. It’s usually diagnosed in adults, and type 2 diabetes is both preventable and sometimes reversible through weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where a person’s pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, usually diagnosed in children. The third type is gestational diabetes, which develops for some pregnant women who have never had diabetes.
Over the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19.
How to prevent developing diabetes
Type 2 diabetes sneaks up on us. It develops over many years, and the symptoms are often not noticeable. Eighty-four percent of people who have prediabetes don’t know they have it, and one in five people with diabetes don’t know they have it.
The known risk factors for prediabetes and developing type 2 diabetes include:
- Being overweight
- Lack of physical activity
- Age (45 or older)
- Genetics – e.g. having a close relative with type 2 diabetes
If you have risk factors, talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested. Regence members also have access to health plan resources for managing and preventing diabetes – more information is available at www.regence.com, and members can also call customer service for help.
If you are interested in learning more about how the team at Capital Benefit Services can help you and your employees contact us by phone at 425-641-8093.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning or ending medical treatment or if you have questions regarding a medical condition.