Diabetes Fact Sheet


What Is Diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into the energy needed for daily life. There are two primary types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: An autoimmune disease in which the body doesn't produce any insulin. Previously known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes most often occurs in children and young adults. People with Type 1 diabetes have to take insulin shots to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5 to 10 percent of all cases.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Once called adult onset diabetes, Type 2 is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough insulin or properly use the insulin that the body does produce. The most common form of the disease, Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases. Risk factors include age, obesity, family history of diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, race/ethnicity and a history of gestational diabetes.

Prevalence in the U.S., all ages, 2002:

  • Total: 18.2 million people (6.3 percent of the population) in the U.S. have diabetes;
  • Diagnosed: 13 million
  • Undiagnosed: 5.2 million
  • Incidence: 1.3 million new cases are diagnosed each year in persons age 20 and older


Type 1 Type 2
  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Fatigueo Irritability

Type 1 Symptoms, as well as:

  • Frequent infectionso Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in hands or feet
  • Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections

Diabetes can result in serious complications if not managed properly. However, by controlling blood sugar levels with testing, diet, exercise and in some cases medication, people with diabetes can reduce their risk of complications like eye, nerve and kidney damage by as much as 60 percent and live a full and active life. Additional complications of uncontrolled diabetes may include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Blindness
  • Amputation
  • Dental disease
  • Complications of pregnancy
  • Diabetic coma
  • Susceptibility to other disease

Who Is At Greatest Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
People who are at greatest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are:

  • Over the age of 45
  • Pre-disposed due to a family history
  • Obese or overweight
  • Physically inactive
  • People with low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • Members of certain ethnic groups such as Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans
  • Women who have previously had gestational diabetes or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth

Target Range for Blood Sugar Levels: Healthy blood sugar ranges vary according to individuals and are generally recommended by a healthcare provider.

Testing Frequency: The American Academy of Family Physicians has issued new guidelines on blood sugar testing for people with diabetes. The guidelines recommend that people with diabetes who take insulin (with or without diabetes pills) test three to four times daily. Those taking diabetes pills only, but whose A1c levels (i.e., average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months) are higher than the recommended range should test two to four times daily. Those who are controlling their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise only, or taking diabetes pills only and whose A1c levels are in range, will need to test less often and should check with their healthcare professional.

The guidelines also state that you should test more often when your diabetes medicine or dosage changes, your diet or activity levels change, and when you are sick. Consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes or for any questions you may have.

About LifeScan
LifeScan, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company and the maker of OneTouch® Brand Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems, is committed to creating a world without limits for people with diabetes by providing fast, accurate and easy-to-use products. LifeScan participates in health fairs and works closely with diabetes health educators and community-based organizations, as well as the media to educate the Hispanic community about the importance of effective diabetes management. LifeScan has bilingual operators available to answer questions at 1 800 381-7226 and a Spanish-language consumer Web site at

Page Posted: December 2005