Diabetes Mellitus, often referred to as just “diabetes,” is a disease of the pancreas. This vital organ produces insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control. That’s approximately nine percent of the U.S. population. There is no cure for this chronic disease, but some things can be done to minimize the damage caused by diabetes.

1. Risk Factors for Diabetes

The following factors increase the risk of developing diabetes: a family history of diabetes, weighing 20 percent or more than your target weight, use of certain medications, an injury to the pancreas, already having an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heavy alcohol use, smoking, and age (advanced age increases the risk.)