About 1 in 12 individuals have diabetes. You can lower your risk or better manage Type 2 diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and maintaining an ideal weight.
What is diabetes?
Glucose (a type of sugar) is the main source of energy for the body’s cells, and the level of glucose in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin. Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body can’t use glucose normally, which leads to too much glucose in the blood (or high “blood sugar levels”).
What is pre-diabetes?
Having pre-diabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. The good news is that you may be able to prevent the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes by losing weight, eating healthier and exercising.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is the key that unlocks the cell wall to let glucose inside so that it can be used for energy or stored if not used. Individuals with insulin resistance have a stubborn lock keeping glucose from going into the cell. The cell wall does not respond well to insulin or is insulin resistant. People who are overweight have a higher risk of insulin resistance, because fat interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin.
What is hyperglycemia?
Individuals with hyperglycemia have a high level of glucose in the blood. Individuals with insulin resistance are more likely to be hyperglycemic. Because the glucose is not able to go inside the cell, glucose levels remain high in the blood. Many people with insulin resistance have hyperglycemia and high blood insulin levels at the same time.
Are you at risk?
Because about 27% of individuals with diabetes have not been diagnosed, it’s important to understand the risk factors and talk to your doctor about your risks. Family history and genetics play a large role in Type 2 diabetes. Low activity level, poor diet, and excess body weight (especially around the waist) significantly increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Have questions about your risks for diabetes?
Start by calling your primary care physician or family doctor. When seeing your physician is not possible, contact United Healthcare’s Nurse Line for access to a trained nurse to answer your questions. This FREE service is available to all UHC members 24/7! Just call UHC toll-free at 1-855-837-1612.
Want to better manage your diabetes treatment? Contact Advocate4Me.
From questions about benefits to help finding a doctor near you, Advocate4Me can provide support and resources to help you and your family make confident decisions about managing diabetes and your overall health care. To contact a Health Advocate, call 1-855-837-1612. Advocates are available weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.