Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar.  When a person has diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin, or is unable to use its own insulin well. If blood sugar builds up in the body and its levels are not controlled, it can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, amputations of the legs and feet, and early death. CDC programs and other scientific activities support improvements in health outcomes for people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and prediabetes.

10 Principles for Diabetes Management

Identify Undiagnosed Patients

Manage Prediabetes

Provide Self-Management Education and Support

Encourage Nutrition Therapy

Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Control Blood Glucose

Manage Hypertension and Dyslipidemia

Get Screened for Nephropathy, Neuropathy, and Retinopathy

Diabetes Management in Special Populations

Obtain Patient-Centered Diabetes Care

Detection of prediabetes and diabetes is essential in preventing or delaying the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other vascular disease risks.  Adults who are members of a high-risk population, including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, or Alaska Natives, should also be screened regularly.  Women with a history of gestational diabetes are also at an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and should be screened postpartum, and then on a yearly basis.

Prediabetes does not always progress to type 2 diabetes. Appropriate lifestyle interventions, including dietary changes and increased physical activity, can prevent this progression.  Individualized nutrition therapy can help with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes hit target levels of blood glucose, blood pressure, and lipids, as well as achieve weight loss goals.  

People with prediabetes who engaged in regular physical activity achieved a mean 7% weight loss at 1 year. 
 At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity, glycemic control, lipids, and blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle modifications targeted towards lowering LDL cholesterol levels can reduce CVD risks, especially in patients aged 45 to 75.  Renal health is especially important in patients with diabetes.  Markers should regularly be screened for with the development of nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy, which are linked to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), blindness, and CVD.  Children with diabetes require specialized self-management support and regular assessments for depression.  For older adults, diabetes management should take into account coexisting chronic conditions and the patient’s cognitive status and this patient population may also require specialized medication prescribing practices. 

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National Diabetes Prevention Program