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Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body is either no longer making a hormone called insulin or the insulin that is made is not working well.

With diabetes, high amounts of glucose (a form of sugar) build up in the bloodstream and cause problems such as damage to the eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves. For this reason, diabetes is the primary cause of new cases of adult blindness, kidney failure, and non-traumatic lower-limb amputation.

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About Diabetes

Select the box below to learn more about the main types of diabetes.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

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Gestational Diabetes

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction where the body stops producing or makes very little insulin. It is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but can be diagnosed at any age. People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin everyday and there is no way to prevent it.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is caused when the body does not use the insulin that is produced and causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Often, it develops over time and is typically diagnosed in older adults. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle.

Diabetes Facts and Risk Factors

  • Over one million Michigan adults have type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S.
  • One in 11 U.S. adults has been diagnosed with diabetes (closer to one in 10 in Michigan).
  • At the current rate of growth, one in four U.S. adults will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050.
  • As much as 80 percent of the growth in diabetes can be attributed to the rise in obesity. Obesity is often caused by increased consumption of calories and decreased physical activity.
  • Some races and ethnicities are disproportionately affected by diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Arab Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders all have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes compared to white, non-Hispanics.

Diabetes Statistics

The latest statistics from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP), show the following:

  • Diabetes affects 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population) and an estimated 1.85 million Michiganders (10.4% of the population).
  • Prediabetes, a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, affects 86 million Americans, including 2.6 million Michiganders (8.2% of the population).
  • Annually, diabetes costs the United States $174 billion and costs Michigan over $9 billion per year.
  • Diabetes disproportionately affects some groups of people more than others, such as certain racial/ethnic groups, physically inactive people, overweight people and those who have family members with the disease.

Diabetes Resources

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: Diabetes Prevention and Control Program

National Diabetes Education Program: Diabetes Overview

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Diabetes


People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In Michigan, one estimate is that over 2.6 million (8.2% of the population) adults have prediabetes.

Prediabetes Risk Test

Find out if you are at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking the Prediabetes Risk Test.

If the risk test indicates that you are at risk, or your doctor has said you have prediabetes, learn more about preventing type 2 diabetes through our Diabetes Prevention Program.

Risk Factors for Prediabetes

  • Age 45 and up
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Having an African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander racial or ethnic background
  • A history of diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or having given birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more
  • Being physically active less than three times a week
  • High blood pressure

Prediabetes Resources

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: Diabetes  Prevention and Control
National Diabetes Education Program: NDEP’s Diabetes Snapshot
Centers for Disease Control: Diabetes Fact Sheet

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy. Diabetes indicates that you have high amounts of glucose (a form of sugar) in your bloodstream. Your body uses glucose for energy. However, too much glucose can be harmful to you and your baby. GDM is usually diagnosed during late pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with GDM early in your pregnancy, you may have had diabetes before you became pregnant.

Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

  • Being overweight/obese
  • Having GDM before during a previous pregnancy
  • Giving birth to a baby weigh more than 9 pounds
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Having prediabetes, meaning your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes
  • Having an African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander racial or ethnic background

Gestational Diabetes Facts

  • Gestational Diabetes affects at least 7% and possibly as many as 18% of pregnancies in the United States.
  • Women with a history of gestational diabetes have a 35 to 60% chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years.
  • Children of pregnancies where the mother had gestational diabetes may also be at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

How to Prevent Diabetes Later in Life

If you had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you can take steps to prevent developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Regular screening tests are important. If you had GDM during your pregnancy, you should be tested for diabetes 6 to 12 months after your baby is born. If your blood glucose level is higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes, you may have prediabetes and should be tested every year. Otherwise, plan to be tested every 3 years.

Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Try to reach your prepregnancy weight within 6 to 12 months after your baby is born. If this goal seems overwhelming, work towards losing 5-7% of your body weight and keeping it off. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 10 to 14 pounds can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Healthy eating habits will benefit you and your family. Choose low calorie foods that are low in fat and sodium. Incorporate fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein into your meals.

Be active. Physical activity is crucial for staying healthy and preventing type 2 diabetes. Set a goal to be active for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, or 150 minutes per week. Activities include brisk walking, jogging, biking, dancing, and swimming.

Gestational Resources

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

This women’s health podcast by the CDC focuses on gestational diabetes to help educate women about the condition.

Learn More about NKFM's Programs

Diabetes Prevention Program

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If you’re at risk of type 2 diabetes, the DPP's small group setting, along with a trained and passionate coach, helps you make sustained, healthy lifestyle changes.

Diabetes PATH

Your health is our number one priority right now. Diabetes PATH is a free 6-week workshop, held once a week for two to two ½ hours. When you join Diabetes PATH, you’ll join a small group of people just like you who are looking to better manage their diabetes. Diabetes PATH helps people:

  • Learn to balance blood sugar levels
  • Manage symptoms
  • Learn more about healthy eating and physical activity
  • Improve communication
  • Improve overall ...


WISEWOMAN provides free health screenings and coaching to help you make small, healthy changes in your life.