Of the 18.2 million people with diabetes in the United States, more than half (9.3 million) are women. The risk of heart disease, the most common complication of diabetes, is more serious among women than men. Among people with diabetes who have had a heart attack, women have lower survival rates and a poorer quality of life than men. Women with diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than women without diabetes, and women are at greater risk of blindness from diabetes than men. Death rates for women aged 25-44 years with diabetes are more than 3 times the rate for women without diabetes.
Women with diabetes must also plan childbearing carefully. It is especially important to keep blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible before and during pregnancy, to protect both mother and baby. Pregnancy itself may affect insulin levels, as well as diabetes-related eye and kidney problems. To learn more, visit the CDC's comprehensive website for publications, brochures, and more.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes, or high blood sugar, that only pregnant women get. If a woman gets high blood sugar when she's pregnant, but she never had high blood sugar before, she has gestational diabetes. Nearly 135,000 pregnant women get the condition every year, making it one of the top health concerns related to pregnancy.
Managing gestational diabetes is very important in order to protect the baby. Babies born to mothers with uncontrolled gestational diabetes can be overly large at birth, making delivery more dangerous. These babies can also have breathing problems. In addition, children exposed to diabetes in the womb are more likely to become obese during childhood and adolescence and to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life, so healthy eating, physical activity, and weight maintenance are important steps to prevention. To learn more, visit the CDC's comprehensive website for publications, brochures, and more.
African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes. In addition, gestational diabetes occurs more frequently in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and American Indians than in other groups. See our Reports & Factsheets section to read more about specific populations in Utah.
Diabetes can indeed run in families, meaning that heredity often makes a person more likely to develop diabetes. Researchers believe that certain genes affecting immune response can play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, while genes affecting insulin function can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. While African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans have a slightly lower rate of type 1 diabetes, they are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes than the rest of the population.
Many researchers think that some African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans inherited a 'thrifty gene' which helped their ancestors store food energy better during times when food was plentiful, to survive during times when food was scarce. Now that 'feast or famine' situations rarely occur for most people in the United States, the gene which was once helpful may now put these groups at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
In addition, poverty, lack of access to health care, cultural attitudes, and behaviors are barriers to preventive and diabetes management care for some minority Americans. To learn more, visit the CDC's comprehensive website for publications, brochures, and more.
Here are just some of the many diabetes materials addressing African Americans specifically:
Here are English-language diabetes materials addressing Hispanic/Latino Americans:
Here are some Spanish-language diabetes materials:
Here are several publications about American Indians, Alaska Natives, and diabetes:
Here are some resources specifically addressing diabetes among Asian and Pacific Islander Americans:
Type 1 diabetes, which used to be called juvenile diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas, so that they no longer make insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day. Approximately one in every 400 to 500 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, a disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older, is now becoming more common among children and adolescents, particularly in American Indians, African Americans, and Hispanic/Latinos.
Among youth, obesity, physical inactivity, and prenatal exposure to diabetes in the mother have become widespread, and may contribute to the increased development of type 2 diabetes during childhood and adolescence. See the following for more information:
As we age, our risk for developing diabetes increases. Approximately half of all diabetes cases occur in people aged 55 years and older. Approximately 18.3% (8.6 million) of people in the United States aged 60 years and older have diabetes. Diabetes often leads to chronic conditions such as heart disease and kidney disease that eventually result in death. So diabetes often contributes to, but is not listed as the cause of many deaths. See the following for more information:
Vietnam veterans exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange may be at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In the year 2000, the Veterans Administration announced that it would recognize diabetes as a Vietnam service-related disease. See the following for more information:
The Utah DPCP has received permission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to copy the above material on this website.