Diabetes 101: Your Primer

What you don't know about diabetes can hurt you. We'll bring you up to speed. With one study estimating
that Latinas are more likely to get diabetes than not (we have a 52.5 percent lifetime risk), it's crucial you know the following.

What It Is

You know how a lot of people call diabetes "high sugar"? They're half right. Diabetes is what happens when your body can't process or doesn't produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. When sugar isn't converted, it hangs around in your blood and attacks your organs.

What It Can Do

Diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure and heart attacks. In fact, it's the sixth-leading cause of death in the country. But nearly half of all diabetics can control it with exercise and a healthy diet; the rest add medication to the treatment plan.

How to Prevent It

Almost 21 million people in the United States have diabetes, but nearly one-third don't know it. The most important thing to remember is that most cases are preventable, even if it runs in your family. Assess your risk at diabetes.org/risk-test. If it's low, keep it that way by walking more, eating non-starchy veggies such as spinach, carrots or broccoli, having fish twice a week and choosing whole grains over processed ones (including white rice and some breads). If your risk is high, see your doctor.

-Kenrya Rankin