Updated 1/10/22

Updated Visitation Policy (1/22)

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Answering Your Diabetes Questions. Learn Risk Factors, Symptoms, & More.

Just over one in 10 Americans has diabetes—for perspective, that’s 34.2 million people. In addition to this, one in three Americans has what’s called prediabetes. Diabetes affects a large swath of the U.S. population, so it’s important to get educated. Keep reading for information on risk factors, symptoms, and more. 

First Thing’s First—What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition wherein your body isn’t able to process and use glucose from food properly. This causes a buildup of extra sugar in your bloodstream. You’ve probably heard of several different types of diabetes—and while they’re caused by different things—they all result in this same problem. 

Here is a rundown of the different types of diabetes, and what causes them:

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning that your body attacks itself in some way. This type is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes because people with this type have to take insulin every day. This type is usually diagnosed early on in children, which is why you’ll sometimes hear it called “juvenile diabetes” as well. 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 is the most common kind of diabetes, consisting of up to 95% of all diabetes conditions. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin (so you have to supplement) or your body doesn’t respond correctly to the insulin your body produces. You might hear type 2 diabetes referred to as either insulin-resistant diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, since it’s usually found in older individuals. 

Gestational Diabetes 

As the name implies, this kind of diabetes develops while a woman is pregnant. It usually goes away once the pregnancy is over, but it can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on. 


Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, one in three Americans have prediabetes—or the stage before type 2 diabetes. This basically means that your blood’s glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes. 

Common Causes of Diabetes

While it depends greatly on the type of diabetes, there are a lot of things that can contribute to your risk of having or developing diabetes. For type 1 diabetes, the most common cause is a family history since it’s an autoimmune disease. For type 2 diabetes, which can be developed at any age, being overweight, smoking, having high blood pressure, and more can increase your risk. 

Symptoms of Diabetes

If you think you or a loved one might have diabetes, there are several symptoms you should be on the lookout for. Some of the most widely known symptoms include numbness or tingling in the hands or feet and cuts or sores that are abnormally slow to heal. Other symptoms include frequent urination, blurred vision, fatigue, increased thirst and dry mouth, and frequent, unexplained infections. If you have a family history of diabetes, that’s all the more reason to be aware and cautious. 

Need More Diabetes Answers?

If you suspect you or a loved one might have diabetes, you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as you can. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have, and get a treatment in place so you can enjoy your life while safely managing your diabetes!