National Diabetes Awareness Month: Knowing signs and symptoms

CDC estimates more than 130m adults in US are living with diabetes or prediabetes.

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Our Chicago Part 1: Knowing signs of diabetes, prediabetes
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What is diabetes? It is important to be aware of prediabetic symptoms and the signs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and there's a number you should know.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 130 million adults in the U.S. are living with diabetes or prediabetes.

More than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don't know they have it.

"Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas makes little to no insulin. And usually we see this diagnosed in younger children, younger adults mostly. Type 2 diabetes is actually when your pancreas is making insulin but your cells are having a hard time using that insulin to bring glucose in so you end up having more blood sugar," said Dr. Arshiya Baig, an internal medicine physician at the University of Chicago Medicine and the Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research. "Prediabetes, you don't actually have a diagnosis of diabetes, but you're at risk for it. You may have some abnormal levels of blood sugar in your blood but not to the point where you have a diagnosis of diabetes."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 130 million adults in the U.S. are living with diabetes or prediabetes.

Here in Chicago, Baig said the number of people living with diabetes is increasing.

"There's probably many different reasons. Some of it probably comes down to just the pandemic and people not leaving the house, not being as active, that's one risk factor. We've actually also seen that maybe COVID infection is tipping people over from pre-diabetes to diabetes. And you know, I think that folks also weren't necessarily going in to get their routine medical care."

The CDC has a community-based Type 2 diabetes prevention program. According to the CDC, those who took part lost between 5% and 7% percent of their body weight and added 150 minutes of exercise each week.

And they cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by up to 58%.

"It's important to note that these changes can be small," said Dr. Christopher Holliday, director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, "Taking steps like eating healthier, being more active doesn't mean that you have to overhaul your life. The National Diabetes Prevention Program is so effective because it gives people access to a trained coach who can help you make these small changes that are specific to you."

To be eligible to participate, a person must be at least 18 years old, have a BMI of 25 or higher, not be previously diagnosed with diabetes and not be pregnant.

For more information:

National Diabetes Prevention Program | Diabetes | CDC

To determine if you might have prediabetes:

Take The Prediabetes Risk Test |