Looking for more info on prediabetes? Our Frequently Asked Questions can help you get a better understanding of what it is and how you can reverse it.

Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes

What is the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is when your body makes very little or no insulin. It is often diagnosed when someone is a child or a young adult. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin shots or an insulin pump.

Type 2 diabetes is when your body cannot use the insulin it makes and over time does not make enough of it. 

Type 2 diabetes is often found in people who are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, do not get enough physical activity, and are 50 years or older. 

Is type 1 or type 2 diabetes more common?

Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90% to 95% of all diabetes cases. 

What causes type 2 diabetes?

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is when blood sugar levels are above normal. 

Our body turns the food we eat into sugar to use for energy. An organ called the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to help our bodies use sugar. 

When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should (type 2 diabetes). This causes sugar to build up in your blood. 

How common is diabetes?

More than 37 million Americans have diabetes. 1 in 5 of them doesn’t know they have it. 

What are the most common long-term complications of type 2 diabetes?

People who have type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of health problems like heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and lower-limb amputation (removing a toe, foot, or leg by surgery).

Adults who have type 2 diabetes have a 50 percent higher risk of early death than those who do not have diabetes.

Can diabetes lead to death?

Yes. Diabetes is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.

Am I at high risk of type 2 diabetes if I have a close family member with it?

Certain genetic factors can put you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes—but type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed through healthy changes. You’re at higher risk if you have a close family member with type 2 diabetes.

How can I prevent type 2 diabetes?

What can I do to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes?

You can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by making healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthier, and getting regular physical activity.

If you have prediabetes or are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, you should talk with your doctor. They’ll work with you to make a plan to help reverse prediabetes and stop type 2 diabetes.

Ask your doctor about CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program for help in making these healthy changes that have lasting results.

For more information on how to prevent type 2 diabetes, visit the CDC’s website.

How do I know if I have type 2 diabetes?

Will I notice symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

You may not notice any symptoms. That is why it is important to talk to your doctor.

How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. These blood tests are the same as those used for prediabetes, A1C, and fasting blood glucose.

Want to be tested for diabetes? The CDC has all you need to know.

How is type 2 diabetes treated?

How is type 2 diabetes treated?

People with type 2 diabetes need to manage their health every day.

Your doctor may tell you that you will be able to manage your type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and exercise. Your doctor may also give you insulin and other medicine to help keep your blood sugar in your target range and avoid problems.

You should also manage your blood pressure and cholesterol and get the tests you need.

How do I know when to check my blood sugar if I have type 2 diabetes?

Ask your doctor how often you need to check your blood sugar levels and what your blood sugar levels should be. 

Your blood sugar levels need to be checked often. Keeping your blood sugar levels close to your target will help you stop or slow down diabetes-related health problems.

How can stress affect type 2 diabetes?

High stress levels can make dealing with type 2 diabetes harder. 

How can I cope with stress?

Getting plenty of physical activity, improving sleep habits, and finding ways to manage stress can help. Talk to your doctor about other ways you can manage stress.

How often should I see my doctor to help manage my type 2 diabetes?

If you have type 2 diabetes, you should meet with your doctor regularly to make sure you’re staying on track with your plan. This is a great way to get support and guidance, such as advice on managing your blood sugar and overall health. 

If you have type 2 diabetes, ask your doctor about diabetes self-management education and support. You can also search the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists’ nationwide directory for a list of educators in your area.

Can type 2 diabetes be cured?

There isn’t a cure for type 2 diabetes yet. 

Can type 2 diabetes be managed?

Type 2 diabetes can be managed through healthy lifestyle habits, medicine, and meeting often with your doctor.

Visit CDC’s website for diabetes tips.

Gestational Diabetes

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can occur in pregnant women who don’t already have diabetes. Every year, gestational diabetes affects 2% to 10% percent of pregnancies in the United States. 

Gestational diabetes is sometimes called GDM.

What causes gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when your body can’t make enough insulin during your pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. 

These changes cause your body’s cells to use insulin less well, a problem called insulin resistance. All pregnant women have some insulin resistance during late pregnancy, but some women have insulin resistance even before they get pregnant. 

They start pregnancy with an increased need for insulin and are more likely to have gestational diabetes.

If I have or had gestational diabetes, am I more likely to get prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?

Having gestational diabetes puts you at higher risk for getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later. This is true even though gestational diabetes often goes away after your baby is born. 

About 50 percent of women with gestational diabetes go on to get type 2 diabetes. 

If I have gestational diabetes, how can I lower my risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?

You can lower your risk by resting and keeping a healthy body weight after your baby is born. 

Visit your doctor to have your blood sugar tested 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born and then every 1 to 3 years to make sure your blood sugar levels are on target. 

For more information about gestational diabetes, visit the CDC’s website.

Find a National Diabetes Prevention Program Near You

Where should I start?

With early diagnosis, prediabetes can often be reversed. By joining a National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program, you’ll learn how to make simple changes to help reverse prediabetes and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. 

Find a Program