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    The Center for Health Disparities Research at the Medical University of South Carolina is focused on eliminating racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and rural/urban disparities in health.

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When you have diabetes, the level of sugar in your blood is too high. In 2012, the number of people in the U.S. who had been told they had diabetes reached 21 million, and 8 million more people likely had it but didn't know.

The rate of diabetes is higher for African-Americans, Latinos and other minority groups.

Diabetes can hurt your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. It can also make it hard for wounds to heal. If it isn’t under control, it can lead to death. That’s why it is good to know about diabetes and get the right care. You can take the A1C blood test to tell if you have diabetes or are at risk.

Diabetes is linked to insulin, a hormone that helps move sugar to the body’s cells for energy.

Types of diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes – This is the least common but most severe type of diabetes. It often starts by the early teen years. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes – This type of diabetes is much more common and is sometimes called “sugar diabetes.” It often starts slowly, when you are an adult, but is starting to show up in children more now. With type 2 diabetes, your body does not use or make insulin well, and too much sugar stays in your blood. Drugs can help control type 2 diabetes. Staying active, eating healthy and losing weight can help, too.
  • Pregnancy diabetes – This can cause problems for the mother and the child. While the mother’s blood sugar levels return to normal after pregnancy, she has a high risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
  • Pre-diabetes – The level of sugar in your blood may be higher than normal, but has not yet reached the level of diabetes. When caught at this stage, you have a chance to make changes to put off or prevent diabetes by losing weight and staying active.

See “My Guide to Sugar Diabetes” to learn more and find out about MUSC’s work to study diabetes and help patients.

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