Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should.

    About Diabetes in Idaho

    About 1 in 10 Idaho adults annually report that they have diabetes. The trend of adults in Idaho who have been diagnosed with diabetes has remained fairly stable over the past decade. More than 1 in 5 American adults don’t know they have diabetes. 

    Fresh fruit and vegetables with glucose meter
    Idaho Prediabetes
    Prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
    By the Numbers in 2019
    137,000
    Idaho adults are living with diabetes
    7th
    Leading cause of death in Idaho
    7 in 10
    Idaho adults with diabetes also have high blood pressure
    Manage your diabetes

    Learn how to manage your diabetes through Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services. DSMES is a patient-centered, evidence-based service that provides support, knowledge, and skills necessary to manage diabetes. Engagement in DSMES improves A1C levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, lifestyle behaviors, and prevents or delays diabetes-related complications.

    With a healthcare provider referral, diabetes education may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans. Check with your insurance provider to see what specific diabetes education services are covered.

     

    Smiling woman holding glucose meter and apple
    Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES)

    Diabetes and COVID-19

    Are people with diabetes more likely to get COVID-19?

    No, people with diabetes are not more likely to get COVID-19, but they are more likely to have serious complications if they do get it. Serious complications can lead to hospitalization, being put on a machine to help with breathing (ventilator), or death. The risk of serious complications is higher if you have other medical conditions such as heart disease, chronic kidney disease, pregnancy, or tobacco use.

    If I get sick with COVID-19, does it matter what type of diabetes I have?

    In general, people with diabetes are more likely to have serious complications if they get sick regardless of having type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. The risk for serious complications is likely to be lower if your diabetes is well-managed.

    Find out more information on how COVID-19 impacts people with diabetes.

    What can I do to prepare in case I get COVID-19?

    Managing your diabetes is the best way to lower your chances of serious complications from COVID-19. 

    1. If you have not already done so, get your COVID-19 vaccine. 
    2. Follow your insulin and medication routine as directed by your healthcare provider. Make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of your diabetes medication and insulin. 
    3. Keep your medical appointments and reschedule missed appointments. 
    4. Create and maintain a diabetes care plan by writing down medications and dosing instructions. Keep it available for family and friends so they can communicate with your healthcare providers. 

    Find additional guidance on making a plan before you get sick by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
     

    What symptoms should I be aware of and when should I seek emergency medical attention?

    Find more information about the symptoms of COVID-19 and when to seek emergency medical attention on the CDC website.

    What should I do if I get COVID-19?

    Visit the ADA for more information on what to do if you get COVID-19.

    What are the types of diabetes?

    Type 1 diabetes

    Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body stops making insulin or makes very little insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults but can develop at any age. People with type 1 diabetes take insulin every day. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Approximately 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1. 

    Visit JDRF to learn more about type 1 diabetes.
     

    Type 2 diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or does not respond to insulin the way it should. Most people with diabetes have type 2. 

    Gestational diabetes

    Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy in women with no history of diabetes. About 2-10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes. The problems of gestational diabetes in pregnancy include a baby born early, a very large baby (9 pounds or more), a high chance of needing a C-section, high blood pressure (preeclampsia), and/or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) after delivery. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, but half of the moms go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Babies born to mothers who have gestational diabetes are more likely to grow up with unhealthy weight and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

    Visit the CDC to learn more about gestational diabetes and pregnancy.

    Diabetes FAQs

    What are the risk factors for diabetes?

    You are at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:

    • Have prediabetes
    • Have an unhealthy weight (have overweight or obesity; BMI of 25 or higher)
    • Are 45 years or older
    • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
    • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
    • Have a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby more than 9 pounds

    You should be screened for diabetes if you:

    For women with a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes and everyone 35 years or older, test every three years if your tests are normal. Some medications may increase your risk of developing diabetes. Talk with your healthcare provider about diabetes screening if you’re unsure if certain medications you take increase your risk.

    What are the symptoms of diabetes?

    Symptoms of diabetes may include:

    • Frequent urination
    • Excessive thirst
    • Increase in hunger
    • Fatigue
    • Weakness
    • Drowsiness
    • Blurred vision
    • Slow-healing wounds
    • Weight loss (type 1)
    • Different sensations in hands and feet (type 2)

    You may also have diabetes and only experience mild symptoms.

    How is diabetes diagnosed?

    Your healthcare provider can diagnose diabetes in a few different ways.

    • An A1C test is a simple blood test.
    • A fasting plasma glucose test measures your blood sugar after not eating or drinking for at least eight hours.
    • The oral glucose tolerance test measures how your body processes sugar. The test is done before and two hours after you consume a sweet drink.
    • In cases of severe diabetes symptoms, diabetes is measured with a random (also called casual) plasma glucose test.
    Test DIABETES RANGE
    A1C 6.5% or higher
    Fasting plasma glucose 126 mg/dl or higher
    Oral glucose tolerance test 200 mg/dl or higher
    Random plasma glucose test 200 mg/dl or higher

     

    How often should you test your A1C with your healthcare provider?

    If you have diabetes, have your A1C test twice a year or more often as recommended by your healthcare provider. Monitoring your A1C helps to measure if your body is responding to treatment.

    What are the complications of diabetes?
    • Diabetic ketoacidosis
    • Foot problems
    • Gum disease
    • Heart disease
    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney disease
    • Lower limb amputation
    • Nerve damage
    • Premature death
    • Skin infections and disorders
    • Stroke
    • Vision changes
    Have you recently been diagnosed with diabetes?

    The American Diabetes Association provides helpful tips for those who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes.

    If you don't have insurance and need diabetes care, you can find additional resources at your local community health center. Locate the nearest community health center through the Health Resources & Services Administration or the Idaho Primary Care Association website.
     

    Diabetes resources

    External resources
    The American Diabetes Association is a nonprofit that seeks to educate the public about prediabetes and diabetes and to help those affected.
    External resources
    The CDC translates science into action to prevent type 2 diabetes and improve the health of all people with diabetes.