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Diabetes: What you need to know

The types

Type 1: The body does not produce insulin, which lowers blood sugar by moving it from the blood to other cells. This type accounts for about 5 percent of cases and generally is diagnosed in children; there is no known cause and insulin replacement is the only recommended treatment.

Type 2: The body makes insulin but the insulin doesn’t work as well and the glucose level rises. When one has Type 2 diabetes for an extended period, there can be a decrease in insulin production, but not right away. Usually diagnosed in adults but more children have come down with this type during the obesity epidemic. More than 90 percent of diabetes cases are Type 2. Treatments includes oral and injectable non-insulin medications.

Prediabetes: The precursor to Type 2 diabetes, this condition can be reversed with lifestyle changes. It results when a fasting blood glucose test level is 100 to 125 mg/dl and an A1C test – a three-month average blood sugar rate – reaches 5.7 to 6.4 percent.

The numbers

• Nearly 10 percent of the entire U.S. population has diabetes, including more than 25 percent of those 65 and older; that amounts to almost 30 million children and adults.

• 86 million Americans have prediabetes, and only about one in 10 have been told by a doctor that they have it.

• As many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 if present trends continue.

• Compared to non-Hispanic whites, the risk of diagnosed diabetes is 1.2 times higher among Asian Americans, and 1.7 times higher among Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks.

The impact

• Diabetes contributes to the death of more than 230,000 Americans annually, more than breast cancer and AIDS combined.

• A person diagnosed with diabetes at age 50 dies an average of six years earlier than someone without diabetes.

• People with diagnosed diabetes have health care costs 2.3 times higher than those without it.

• 1 in 5 health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes

Who’s at risk

You may have prediabetes and be at risk for Type 2 diabetes if you:

• Are 45 years of age or older

• Are overweight or a smoker

• Have a family history of Type 2 diabetes

• Are physically active fewer than three times a week

• Ever had diabetes while pregnant, which disappeared after delivering the baby, or gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds

Take the American Diabetes Association Risk Test at

How to get help

Talk to your primary care doctor about a diabetes test; you also may call the American Diabetes Association at 1 (888) DIABETES, Ext. 3703, email, see the bottom of the homepage at or call 835-0274. Local diabetes education class listings also appear regularly in the WNY Refresh Calendar.

Help the cause

Visit to learn more about local volunteer efforts and register for the 2015 Tour de Cure bicycle race June 6, starting in Niagara Falls, at

Sources: Dr. Antoine Makdissi,