Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. This happens because your body may not make enough insulin, a hormone the body makes to lower blood sugar, or it cannot use its insulin correctly.

Diabetes can occur in adults and children and there are three main types: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes (which is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy).

Nearly one million New Yorkers have diabetes, which is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. Over time, high blood sugar can cause serious health complications, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and leg and toe amputations.

Eating a healthier diet and adding more exercise to your routine can help reduce the risk of or delay the onset of diabetes. Participating in the Diabetes Prevention Program can help you learn more about what you can do to reduce your risk of diabetes.”

You can live a long and healthy life with diabetes by taking steps to manage your blood sugars and reduce the risk of complications.


Prediabetes puts you at high risk for developing diabetes and for heart attack or stroke. People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Risk Factors for Diabetes

Your risk for diabetes is higher if you:

  • Are 45 years or older
  • Are overweight or obese (this includes children)
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Have a history of gestational diabetes
  • Gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds
  • Do not exercise
  • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have low HDL cholesterol and elevated triglyceride levels
  • Have a history of heart disease
  • Have polycystic kidney disease


Symptoms of diabetes can be hard to notice. See your doctor if you are high risk or if you think you may have had the following symptoms.

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • Frequent and recurrent infections


You can reduce your risk of getting diabetes by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.

Smoking can also put you at greater risk. If you smoke, check our tips for how to quit the habit. You can also call 311 for help, or talk with your health care provider about quitting.


The only way to know that you have diabetes is to be diagnosed by your health care provider. Usually, your provider can confirm diabetes with a simple blood test.


The best ways to treat diabetes is to take steps to lower your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. If you smoke, consider quitting.

Diabetes treatment typically includes a healthy diet, regular physical activity, medicines taken by mouth or by injection, and sometimes routine home blood glucose testing. Discuss a management plan with your provider.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes and its risk factors are less well-defined. Type 1 diabetes may develop after an environmental trigger causes the body to attack the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

Treatment includes a carefully monitored diet, planned physical activity, routine home blood glucose testing and insulin injections.

Managing Diabetes

See your health care provider regularly and check your blood sugars at home.

Additional Resources


For Parents

For Children and Teens

Information For Health Care Providers

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