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What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-lasting health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is turned into sugar (glucose) and is released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar rises, your pancreas releases insulin. Insulin helps blood sugar enter your body’s cells so it can be used for energy. 

With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin the way it should. If your body can’t make enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, too much blood sugar can lead to other serious health problems like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

What are the types of diabetes?

There are many types of diabetes, the most common being type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).

  • Type 1 is thought to be an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake.) It can take months or years before symptoms are noticed or happen very quickly. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day. There is no way to prevent it, and it’s less common than type 2. Only about 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1.1  
  • Type 2 develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well or doesn’t produce enough and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2.2
  • Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. It usually goes away after the baby is born. However, it could increase the mother’s and baby’s risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.2

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It’s a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Who is at risk for developing type 2 or prediabetes?

You’re at higher risk for developing type 2 or prediabetes if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are older than 45
  • Have an immediate family member with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Have had gestational diabetes
  • Are African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native2

What are some ways to manage type 2 diabetes or reverse pre-diabetes?

Being diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming, but there are things you can do to manage the health condition. Talk with your doctor about creating a specific plan for you. In general, most people with type 2 or prediabetes will benefit when they:

  • Eat well. There is not one specific eating plan to follow, but it’s always a good idea to think about eating for your health. Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, limit processed foods, eat from all food groups, pay attention to portion sizes, and read nutrition information on food labels.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. You may find your blood sugar levels are easier to manage and you need less diabetes medications when you’re in a healthy weight range.
  • Get physical. Being active can make you feel better, function better, and sleep better. Plus, physical activity makes you more sensitive to insulin. Your body won’t need to make as much insulin, or you won’t need to take as much.3
  • Monitor blood sugar. Test your blood sugar regularly and keep a record of the levels to share with your doctor. Remember that your blood sugar target levels may be different depending on your age, any additional health conditions, and other factors.4
  • Learn ways to cope with stress. Stress can raise blood sugar levels, so it’s important to find ways to cope. Taking up a hobby you enjoy, meditation, practicing your faith, and seeking support from loved ones can help.
  • Take medications as directed. Take the medications prescribed by your doctor, even when you feel good.

How can Florida Blue help me live well with diabetes?

  • Save money on insulin. As of January 1, 2024, we reduced the cost of several commonly prescribed insulin medications. You get the same quality drug for a lower price. Pick up your covered insulin prescriptions from your local participating pharmacy, or have them delivered to your home.
  • Connect with a Florida Blue Care Team member by calling 1-844-730-2583. Nurses and other care professionals will work with you and your doctors to help keep you on the path to achieve your health goals. Between consultations with your doctor, your nurse care manager will track your progress and provide support for your diabetes and other conditions.
  • Visit or call a Florida Blue Center and talk with one of our nurses. They can help connect you with treatment support and answer any questions you have. To find the nearest Florida Blue Center, call 1-877-352-5830. Our Center team is available to everyone, whether you’re a Florida Blue member or not.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Type 1 Diabetes?

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Diabetes?

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Weight.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manage Blood Sugar.

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