Diabetes is a disease that causes blood sugar levels to be too high. Over time high blood sugar levels can hurt many parts of your body, such as your skin, mouth, kidneys, heart, nerves, eyes, and feet. It can even cause death.
Type 2 diabetes — the most common type of diabetes — is a growing problem throughout the Pacific Islands. For instance, Native Hawaiians between the ages of 19 and 35 are more than five times as likely as same-age non-Hawaiians to have diabetes. The reasons for this health disparity are not clearly understood. Yet, Pacific peoples have many risk factors for diabetes, such as high rates of obesity.
You can't control some risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as your age, race, or family history. But you can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by taking these steps:
Maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor to find out what a healthy weight is for you.
Eat low-fat, well-balanced meals.
Make physical activity a habit. Health benefits are gained by doing the following each week:
2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or
1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or
A combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity and
Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days of the week
Limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day.
You could have type 2 diabetes and not know it. Type 2 diabetes sometimes has no warning signs. Talk to your doctor about diabetes in your family. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels checked regularly, as advised by your doctor. If you find out you have diabetes, you can take steps to manage the disease and live a full and active life. Making healthy eating and physical activity a regular part of your family life also will help to lower your loved ones' risk of diabetes.
There are other forms of diabetes:
Gestational diabetes is too high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy. But you are at higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys insulin-making cells. It is far less common than type 2 and often starts in childhood. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and Diabetes - Diabetes mellitus poses a rapidly growing health challenge to Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in the United States. This Internet site provides information and statistics on the risks and complications associated with diabetes.
Basics About Diabetes - This fact sheet provides information on Type I and Type II Diabetes including the symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment options. This fact sheet also lists other resources, related material, and organizations on the subject.
Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders - The National Diabetes Education Program's "Take Care of Your Heart" campaign encourages Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians with diabetes to take steps now to reduce their risk of heart attacks or strokes, the leading killers of people with diabetes. The campaign also focuses on the importance of family support. Through this site, you can access different Asian-language versions of this campaign.
Tips to Help You Stay Healthy - This booklet provides an action plan for diabetes control that includes tips on controlling blood glucose levels. Being proactive can help prevent or delay diabetes complications and help you to feel your best.