Over 200,000 Utahns have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 652,000 Utahns have prediabetes. According to the CDC, if current rates of diabetes continue, 1 in 3 Americans will have type 2 diabetes by 2050.
Take the prediabetes risk test here to learn about your risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. 

What is diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes)

    • Type 1 diabetes is caused when the body’s immune system kills insulin-producing cells in the pancreas known as beta cells. Insulin is a hormone which allows the body to use glucose (a simple sugar) for energy. Without functioning beta cells, there is no insulin production. This allows glucose to spill into the bloodstream instead of going into the cells, where it is needed to provide energy. Insulin injections are required in order to control blood glucose levels. Good control of blood glucose levels helps to reduce the risk of diabetes complications such as nerve damage, loss of eyesight, as well as kidney and heart disease. The peak age to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is around 13 or 14 years of age, but people can be diagnosed as young as babies or as old as 40. Symptoms to look for are intense thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, and blurred vision. It is important to seek medical help immediately if any of these signs are present.

Type 2 Diabetes

    • Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90-95% of all cases of diabetes. It is characterized by high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. In the case of type 2 diabetes, your body still produces insulin but cannot use it properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your body will compensate by producing extra insulin. But, over time it cannot maintain high levels of production and the pancreas slows down. At this point, the pancreas is not making enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. Medication is often recommended to help control type 2 diabetes. It is also important to make healthy lifestyle changes. Participating in physical activity for at least 20 minutes per day and losing 5-7% of body weight have shown to make improvements in blood sugar control. These lifestyle changes also help to reduce the risk of other health complications.

Gestational Diabetes

    • Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy, usually around week 24. Screening for gestational diabetes happens routinely in the second trimester (normally around weeks 24-28) using a glucose tolerance test. Prior to diagnosis, there may be no symptoms. This is usually a temporary condition that will last throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Having gestational diabetes does increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. It is important to follow the advice of your healthcare provider in controlling blood sugar levels during pregnancy for the health of the mother and baby. After pregnancy, maintaining an active lifestyle and healthy weight will decrease the risk of developing type two diabetes.


    • 1 in 3 Utahns has prediabetes, and most don’t know it! Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are elevated above normal, but are not high enough to be considered diabetes. This condition rarely shows any symptoms, but it does increase the risk of developing into type two diabetes. If prediabetes is detected, it is important to follow the advice of a health care professional to help make necessary changes. Prediabetes can be reversed through lifestyle changes such as participating in physical activity, losing weight, and eating healthier.

Programs for Diabetes Prevention and Management

    • If you have any type of diabetes, there are programs to help you. 
      • Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) is an evidence-based program that can help manage type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Healthcare providers can refer you to a DSMES program and it may be covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid depending on eligibility. Click here to learn more about Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support programs in Utah.
      • National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) is an evidence-based program designed to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by participating in lifestyle change activities. People who are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes or who have been diagnosed with prediabetes are eligible to participate. National DPP may be covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid depending on eligibility. Click here to learn more about National Diabetes Prevention Programs in Utah.

Links of Interest

Prediabetes Risk Test

Locate a Utah DSMES Program

Locate a Utah National Diabetes Prevention Program

American Diabetes Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Diabetes

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JRDF)


How is Tobacco Use Related to Diabetes?

Tobacco use increases your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, using tobacco can make your diabetes harder to control. For example, tobacco can interfere with how your insulin works and puts you at higher risk for serious complications including:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Poor blood flow to the legs and feed which can lead to infections, ulcers, and possible amputation
  • Retinopathy
  • (an eye disease that can cause blindness)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves in the arms and legs that causes numbness, pain, weakness, and loss of coordination)

If you have diabetes and you use tobacco, quitting will help you manage your condition.  When you quit using tobacco, you will immediately start to see the benefits, such as easier control of blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that insulin resistance can start to decrease 8 weeks after quitting tobacco.

For information on quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit waytoquit.org.

Contact Us

Tabitha Edson, BS, CHES®
Health Educator