Diabetes Facts

Understanding Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is a disease marked by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin. Diabetes is classified in the following ways:

Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is usually found in children and young adults. In type 1, the body does not produce insulin, which is a hormone that converts sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. People with type 1 need to take insulin to survive. Only 5 to 10% of people with diabetes have this type.

Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. In type 2, either the body does not make enough insulin or the body does not use insulin properly. This type is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. Risk for type 2 diabetes increases with age and is more common in older adults, but children can also be diagnosed.

Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. By losing weight and being physically active, people can prevent or delay pre-diabetes from progressing to diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant women who did not have diabetes before but have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes often forms in the later stages of pregnancy and disappears after birth. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Sources: ADA and NDEP

Common Warning Signs / Symptoms of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Extreme fatigue and irritability
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Unusual weight loss

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Frequent infections
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands or feet

Often people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms. If you're age 45 or older, talk to your medical provider about your risk, even if you have no warning signs.

Diabetes in Our State & County

  • According to the North Carolina Diabetes Prevention and Control Branch, 643,000 North Carolinians had diagnosed diabetes in 2008. Another 232,000 were thought to have undiagnosed diabetes and 376,000 were said to have pre-diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death for Orange County. There were 9,453 diagnosed diabetes cases in Orange County in 2008. There were also 2,236 un-diagnosed diabetes cases and close to 2,900 cases of gestational diabetes. Pre-diabetes cases were reported at 6,099 for that year.