When you have diabetes, your body either does not make or properly use insulin. Insulin is important because it turns sugar, starches and other foods into the energy you need for daily life. Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition. The good news is you can manage it and live well.

Types of Diabetes

Prediabetes is a warning sign. It usually develops before Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Lifestyle changes can often keep you from developing Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnoses in children and young adults whose bodies don’t produce insulin. It used to be called juvenile diabetes. About 5% of people with diabetes have Type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form. It develops when your body does not use insulin properly. It causes your blood sugar to rise to unhealthy levels.

Diabetes during pregnancy is also called gestational diabetes. It causes your blood sugar to rise to levels that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health. Your blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery.

Manage Your Diabetes Successfully

  • Exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Get a wellness checkup once each year.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Monitor your blood sugar regularly.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Take medicine as prescribed.
  • Work with a dietitian on meal planning.

Recommended Targets

American Diabetes Association recommends these targets for nonpregnant adults.

Blood GlucoseGeneral GoalKeep In Mind
A1CLess than 7%The general goal of less than 7% is reasonable for most adults with diabetes.
Before meal80-130 mg/dL
After mealLess than 180 mg/dLMeasure your post-meal glucose 1-2 hours after the beginning of the meal.


High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Blood sugar higher than 180 mg/dL
  • Frequent need to use the bathroom
  • Headaches
  • Increased thrist
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weak, tired feeling
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety and/or confusion
  • Dizziness and/or headaches
  • Feeling shkay
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Pale skin
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weak, tired feeling

Complex vs. Simple Carbs

Carbohydrates are one of the body’s main sources of energy. Eating the right carbs can help keep your blood sugar on track.

Eat More Complex Carbs

Complex carbs are good for you. They are high in fiber, digest more slowly and help manage post-meal blood sugar spikes. Examples of good food choices are:

  • Beans
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Breads, pasta and cereals made with whole grains

Skip the Simple Carbs

Simple carbs are sugars. Try to avoid common sources such as:

  • Chips
  • Dessert
  • Juice
  • Soda
  • White breads, pasta and cereals

Living Well With Diabetes

Talk With Your Doctor

Your doctor is one of the best resources for help with living successfully with diabetes. If you need a physician, use our Find a Doctor tool.

Related Reading

Diabetes: Living the Sweet Life (Patient Story )

Prepare to Get Healthy (Meal Prep)

Get the Lowdown on Diabetes

Diabetes: Myth vs. Fact