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 being diagnosed with diabetes. The trend of adults in Idaho who have been diagnosed with diabetes has remained fairly stable over the past decade. About 38 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don't know they have it.

    Idaho adults are living with diabetes in 2022
    Leading cause of death in Idaho in 2021
    Fresh fruit and vegetables with glucose meter
    Idaho Prediabetes
    Prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
    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

    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.
    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 Community Health Center Association website.

    What should I consider if I get sick and I have diabetes?

    When you get sick with things like colds or the flu, the illness and stress from it causes your body to release hormones that raise blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, making it harder to keep your blood glucose in your target range. 

    And while having diabetes does not make you more likely to get a cold or flu, it does increase your chances of getting seriously sick. Having a plan for sick days ahead of time will help you manage your diabetes and will make additional complications less likely. Find additional guidance on making a plan before you get sick from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

    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.
    Contact Us
    Idaho Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) Program