Perhaps your doctor recently broke the news that you have diabetes. Or you've learned that you're at risk of getting the disease. You're worried — afraid of what diabetes will do to you. Will you have to eat tasteless food that has no sugar? Will you have to give yourself daily shots of insulin? Will you eventually face an amputation? Will your diabetes kill you?
For the majority of people with diabetes, the answer to these questions is no. Researchers have learned a great deal about how to diagnose diabetes early and how to control it. Because of these advances, you can live well and not suffer serious complications if you follow your doctor's advice regarding eating, exercise, blood sugar monitoring and, when necessary, use of medications.
Due largely to the aging of the American population and the growing number of Americans who are overweight, diabetes has become one of the most common diseases in the United States. As your age and weight increase, so does your risk of diabetes. It's estimated that 16 million American adults and children have diabetes. Unfortunately, close to one-third don't know it. The reason: Diabetes can develop gradually over many years and often without symptoms.