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Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that impacts your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, either because your body does not produce enough insulin or because insulin is not used correctly by your body. Since blood sugar is your body’s main source of energy, diabetes can have harmful effects on your body. This includes kidney disease, problems with the nervous system, vision problems, stroke, high blood pressure and more.

How common is diabetes?

In Vermont, diabetes affects over 55,000 people. For a small state, that’s a lot of people! Being a small state, maybe you or someone you know has diabetes. It is one of four diseases (cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and type 2 diabetes) that can be caused by three main behaviors: lack of physical activity, poor diet and use of tobacco products. These four diseases cause over 50% of deaths in Vermont.

Here is the good news:

Some forms of diabetes can be prevented or managed with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Get started today by opting for a walk (or ski) around the block and a hearty root vegetable soup to revive you from the cold! In Vermont, we are lucky to have free classes to support people who have prediabetes or diabetes. These free programs offer education and support to help you build healthier eating and exercise habits that can lead to weight loss and reduce your risk of getting diabetes. If you have diabetes, they can help you manage the condition. The small classes will allow you to connect with other people in your community with a common goal of being healthy. This program is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and research shows that people who have completed the program have cut their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old)!

Think you might be at risk? Take this simple test to learn more, or check with your doctor:

The diabetes prevention program and diabetes management workshop are two of the many free classes offered in Vermont. Other available programs include quitting smoking, emotional wellness, chronic disease management and chronic pain management. To learn more and find a class near you, check out You can also contact your local self-management program coordinator. Find them here!

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