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What is Diabetes?


Blood sugar (also known as glucose) is the main source of energy for the cells in our bodies. Insulin is a chemical that our bodies produce to help regulate uptake of glucose into our cells. Diabetes develops when blood glucose levels become too high due to a lack of or ineffective use of insulin by the body. Although there are methods to treat diabetes, there is currently no cure. Read below to learn

how to reduce your risk of developing this disease.

Is Diabetes Really That Serious?

  • Diabetes leads to more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the nation. Around 8.3% of Americans (25.8 million) have diabetes and, as a result, are susceptible to stroke and heart disease.

Am I at risk? Common risk factors include…

  • Weight: In overweight individuals, the body becomes more resistant to insulin.
  • Family History: If your parents or siblings have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
  • Diet & Exercise: Diets with excess calories coupled with an inactive lifestyle increases risk.

What are Common Signs and Symptoms?

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

Prevent your chances of becoming diabetic by eating all foods in moderation and exercising regularly. If you currently have diabetes, many research studies strongly recommend carbohydrate counting as the most effective mechanism of blood sugar control. Carbohydrate contents of all foods can be found on the Rutgers Dining Services website ( In addition, the dining halls
offer sugar free jello and syrup to accommodate students with diabetes.

Live Smart-Don’t Give Diabetes a Start!

Authors: Operation Diabetes (Edward Lin, Sruthi Gaddam, Sarah Berger, Melanie Stewart) & RU Healthy Dining Team      Reviewed By: Julie Saleh, Pharm.D., BCPS and Peggy Policastro, M.S., R.D.-Nutritional Science Department
References: Carb Counting and Diabetes. Available at Accessed on
November 4, 2011. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the
United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011. Diabetes: Assessing your Risk. Available at: Accessed on November 7,2012. Diabetes Basics. Available at: Accessed on November 7, 2012.

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