Yale Medicine Diabetes Content Center
October 5, 2022
More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, meaning their bodies either do not produce insulin or can’t use it properly. (Insulin is a hormone that helps the cells in our bodies absorb the glucose [sugar] in our blood, which we use for energy.)
Over time uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a host of serious health issues, so if you have diabetes, it’s important to understand the condition and how to properly manage it.
Our goal for this page is to provide a resource where you can get answers to your diabetes-related questions and also connect to other information related to diabetes.
3 Things To Know About Teplizumab, the New Diabetes Drug
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a medication that can delay the onset of type 1 diabetes. This marks the first treatment to change the course of this autoimmune disease since the discovery of insulin in 1922.
Researchers say the drug postpones the median onset of the disease by at least two years. The medication is delivered through a daily infusion for two weeks.
Kevan Herold, MD, a Yale Medicine endocrinologist, was the principal investigator of the new medication, called teplizumab, made by Provention Bio. Provention will partner with Sanofi to market the drug in the U.S. and sell it under the brand name Tzield.
We talked with Dr. Herold, who answered three important questions about the drug and diabetes management.
How to Manage Your Diabetes
Managing your diabetes is critical to leading a normal, healthy life. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish this.
“It takes a lot of effort, but thinking about lifestyle changes in the realm of diet and exercise and medications ensures that you're taking a multi-pronged approach to control your diabetes,” says Janelle Duah, MD, a Yale Medicine primary care physician. “And there are specialists and subspecialists, as well as your primary care doctors who can help you along the way.”
In this video, several Yale Medicine medical experts provide an overview of the disease, including its symptoms and how it affects the body.
How to Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels
A key part of diabetes management is in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels—meaning they are neither too low nor too high. So, how can you do it?
In this video, Yale Medicine experts share ways to monitor your blood sugar.
A Look at Nutrition
A healthy, balanced diet is key for anyone with diabetes. Good nutrition not only controls glucose (blood sugar) levels but also improves cholesterol and blood pressure—both of which can be high for people with diabetes.
What, then, is the best diet to follow?
In this video, Yale Medicine experts provide details about the role of good nutrition when it comes to managing diabetes.
Why Exercise Matters for Those with Diabetes
Most adults know they should exercise—ideally about 30 minutes a day, five days a week—but it’s especially important for people with diabetes.
“Overall, exercise is incredibly beneficial for blood sugar control,” says Janelle Duah, MD, a Yale Medicine primary care physician. Sticking to an exercise program for even just eight weeks can lower blood sugar levels to points that are on par with diabetes medications, studies show.
In this video, Yale Medicine experts discuss the benefits of exercise for those with diabetes.
A Look at Medications
For some people with diabetes, dietary, exercise, or other lifestyle changes aren’t enough to control blood sugar.
If that’s the case, you may need medication. Treatment for diabetes is focused on keeping blood sugar (glucose) levels at a normal range. In people with Type 1 diabetes, the body makes little to no insulin, which means taking insulin (usually by injection) is necessary. For those with Type 2 diabetes, in which the body is unable to properly use insulin, too much glucose is often produced, so the first line of treatment might be an oral medication such as metformin, which lowers blood glucose levels.
So, what’s the right medication for you?
Yale experts discuss medication management for those with diabetes.
Prediabetes: What It Is and How to Reverse It
Type 2 diabetes, in which the body doesn’t use insulin properly, is on the rise in the United States, and many are diagnosed when they are young, even in adolescence. Perhaps more astonishing—and worrying—is that prediabetes, the condition that leads to type 2 diabetes, now affects 96 million people. That’s one in three of us.
The good news is that prediabetes can be seen as a warning sign—it’s the body’s way of saying that your insulin levels are rising, but you can still reverse it before developing type 2 diabetes.
In this article, Yale Medicine experts share how those with prediabetes can reverse the condition.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes, also known as type 1 diabetes mellitus, is a chronic disorder characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood as a result of the pancreas making little to no insulin—a hormone that helps glucose enter the body's cells.
Yale Medicine experts discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatments of type 1 diabetes.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes, also known as type 2 diabetes mellitus, is a disorder marked by higher-than-normal levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood, which occurs as a result of the body’s cells not responding properly to insulin.
Yale Medicine experts discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatments of type 2 diabetes.
My Diabetes Journey: A Cautionary Tale
One patient shares her difficult diabetes management journey and how she learned to live (well) with the condition.
Diabetes can be an insidious disease. You can be without symptoms for years and feel completely fine. But once the complications of diabetes start to take hold—and eventually, they will—it can affect virtually every area of your health. That’s because excessive sugar in your blood is damaging to blood vessels and nerves throughout your body.
The three most common complications of diabetes involve damage to the nerves (neuropathy), the eyes (retinopathy), and the kidneys (nephropathy).
As a result of poor diabetes management, the patient in this story had all three of those complications.