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Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

Learn how to live a healthier, more meaningful life

What to Know About Diabetes

With diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin or can't use it as well as it should. Diabetes is a health condition that causes too much sugar to build up in the blood. Your body needs insulin to move glucose (sugar) from the food you eat into your body's cells for energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin.

The more you know about diabetes the quicker you can manage it. And in return, the better life you can have!

Diabetes types

  • Type 1: The body makes little or no insulin. More on type 1.
  • Type 2: The body makes insulin, but can’t use it well. More on type 2.
  • Gestational: Develops during pregnancy in women without diabetes. More gestational.
  • Prediabetes: When your blood sugar level is higher than it should be.
    • Not high enough for a diagnosis.
    • You likely had prediabetes before type 2 diabetes.

man on bicycle in forest


  • Insulin is a hormone that lowers the level of glucose
  • Glucose is a type of sugar in the blood


What Diabetes Means for Your Health

Normal insulin process:

  1. Your food breaks down into tiny parts (glucose) when you eat
  2. Insulin "unlocks" a cell receptor which allows glucose to enter the cell
  3. Glucose provides energy to cells Food Insulin Cell

Type 2 diabetes food and energy processing:

  1. Your cells starve without insulin
  2. What you've eaten spills into your blood
  3. This causes high glucose levels

How to prevent diabetes

You can make simple life choices that can help you manage your weight. And, can make choices to help reduce your risk factors for getting type 2 diabetes.

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Increase exercise
  • Keep weight under control
  • Make healthy choices, don't smoke or drink alcohol

To stay healthy, make sure to manage your:

  • Blood glucose
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol

Types of Diabetes

There are 3 types of diabetes, with type 2 being the most common. The three types are:

Type 1 diabetes

  • Chronic autoimmune disease
  • The beta cells in the pancreas produce little to no insulin
  • Accounts for 5% to 10% of diabetes cases

Type 2 diabetes

  •  The most common form of diabetes
  • Your pancreas can produce insulin at first but your body's cells don't respond the right way.
  • This is known as insulin resistance.
  • The CDC Trusted Source notes that 90% to 95% of cases are type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

  • Can develop during pregnancy in women who do not already have diabetes
  • Affects 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States yearly
  • Needs to be managed for a healthy pregnancy and baby

Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile diabetes.
This is because it's often found in childhood. The American Diabetes Association believes only about 5% of people with diabetes have type 1.

  • Its exact cause is unknown
  • Genetics and certain viruses may lead to the disease
  • There is no current cure or known ways to prevent type 1 diabetes
  • Treatment can help manage symptoms

How to Manage Diabetes

Work with your doctor to decide on a treatment plan to control your diabetes. Follow your treatment plan and ask questions if you need help. You can manage your blood glucose level through diet, exercise and medication as needed.

  • To keep your blood glucose levels near normal you will want to balance:
    • Food intake
    • Medication
    • Exercise
  • Learn about your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels. Know how to keep levels within normal ranges.
  • Learn to track and control your blood pressure – it should not go over 140/90

Why Manage Diabetes?

Diabetes can lead to severe health problems.

  • stroke
  • vision problems or blindness
  • gum disease
  • heart disease and poor circulation
  • kidney failure
  • nerve damage
  • foot and skin problems


Regular screenings can catch potential issues early. Have these tests routinely to help track your progress and total health.

Talk to your doctor about which follow-up exams are right for you. Follow your doctor’s advise on how to manage diabetes.

American Diabetes Association Recommendations
Tests and follow-Up exams How often
AIC 2 to 4 times a year
Comprehensive dilated eye exam 1x a year
Foot exam Every visit
Urine test for microalbuminuria 1x year
Blood pressure Every visit
Cholesterol and blood lipids 1x year
Flu shot 1x year
Pneumonia vaccine One time – people under 65 who have a chronic illness or a weakened immune system should ask their doctor about getting another shot 5–10 years after the first one

Stay active to manage diabetes and improve your total health

Five reasons to stay active:

  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Lowers risk of heart disease and nerve damage
  • Helps keep a healthy body weight
  • Improves sleep and bowel functions
  • Enhances mental health and mood

Talk to your doctor about what kind of exercise is best for you!

Eat well

  • Make healthy food choices to control your blood sugar levels
  • Control your food intake
  • Work with your doctor or with a person who specializes in nutrition – they will help create the right meal plan for you

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Please always follow your health care provider's instructions.
Health Net of California, Inc. and Health Net Community Solutions, Inc. are subsidiaries of Health Net, LLC. Health Net is a registered service mark of Health Net, LLC. All other identified trademarks/ service marks remain the property of their respective companies All rights reserved.

Last Updated: 02/27/2024