Diabetes Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of diseases in which high blood glucose levels result from defects in insulin production or action. The three types of diabetes include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

  • In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day.
  • In type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, the body becomes resistant to normal levels of insulin or both. People with type 2 diabetes often need to take pills and/or insulin.
  • In gestational diabetes, elevated blood sugars occur during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in their lives.

How common is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is very common, affecting more than 25.8 million Americans. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 1.5 million in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Before being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, most people do not have any symptoms. However, people who do have symptoms usually complain of needing to urinate frequently, feeling thirsty, feeling tired and having blurred vision.

How do you treat type 2 diabetes?

Treatment for type 2 diabetes involves changes in diet, increased activity level, oral medications and sometimes insulin injections.

Can diabetes ever go away?

Type 1 diabetes does not ever go away. Gestational diabetes often resolves after pregnancy, however, women with gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes when people with type 2 diabetes change their diet, increase their activity level and lose weight, their blood sugars can be controlled with no medication. Their diabetes may be considered to have gone away, however, they still have a predisposition to diabetes and will need to continue to maintain the lifestyle changes they have implemented to prevent the high blood sugars from recurring.

Regardless of whether people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugars through diet, exercise or medication, they will need to continue their treatment regimen to prevent their blood sugars from going back up.

Do all people with diabetes have to take insulin?

All patients with type 1 diabetes require insulin. Many patients with type 2 diabetes can control their disease with dietary changes and/or oral medications.

Do I need to monitor my blood sugar when I have type 2 diabetes?

Most patients with type 2 diabetes need to monitor their blood sugars with home blood glucose monitoring. Depending on the severity of your diabetes and the medication regimen you are on, your doctor will help you to determine how frequently you need to monitor your blood sugar.

What can be done to control type 2 diabetes?

You can control type 2 diabetes by following a well- balanced diet, remaining physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, taking all medications as prescribed and attending regularly scheduled appointments with your doctor.

Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Being 45 years of age or older
  • Being overweight
  • A family history of diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Belonging to a high-risk ethnic or racial group
  • A history of delivering a large baby or of gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome or vascular disease

Of course, we cannot change some of these risk factors such as our family history or our age, but we can do our best to avoid being overweight and physically inactive. This can go a long way in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.

Is there a cure for diabetes?

Currently, there is no cure for diabetes, however many researchers are working on finding one. In the meantime, you can do your best to prevent type 2 diabetes by eating well, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight.

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Fax: 212-423-0508

Mount Sinai Diabetes Center
5 East 98th Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10029