Test Your Diabetes Knowledge

Health, Home & Family
on December 3, 2009

Think you know a lot about the disease that affects more than 20 million people in the United States? Take our quiz, and know the facts. (See answers at the bottom of this page.)

1. Having diabetes means that:
a) your pancreas does not produce enough insulin
b) your body's cells do not use insulin properly
c) either a or b

2. Right now, there are more diabetics in the United States than there are:
a) teachers
b) single moms
c) teachers and single moms combined

3. Your risk for diabetes increases:
a) as you age
b) if you're a woman
c) if you tend to gain weight more around your hips than around your middle

4. Doctors test for diabetes by checking your:
a) blood
b) reflexes
c) blood pressure

5. If you're diagnosed with diabetes:
a) you're doomed to life without cookies or ice cream
b) you'll have to take daily doses of insulin
c) you'd better start exercising

6. People with diabetes should avoid wearing:
a) sunglasses
b) flip-flops
c) wool sweaters

7. Losing weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by:
a) 10 percent
b) 35 percent
c) 50 percent or more

8. To control your diabetes risk, your best breakfast choice would be:
a) poached eggs
b) a bowl of cereal
c) yogurt and fruit

9. Which beverage (in moderation) might reduce your risk for diabetes?
a) coffee
b) diet soda
c) red wine

10. Which of these political personalities has diabetes?
a) Hardball host Chris Matthews
b) former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
c) both

1. C. Diabetes comes in two forms. In type 1 (also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes), your pancreas does not make enough of the insulin you need to digest glucose. In type 2 (adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes), your pancreas produces insulin, but your body's cells don't use it properly.
2. C. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 24 million Americans have diabetessignificantly more than the combined numbers of 10.4 million single moms and 7.1 million teachers. Another 57 million Americans have "prediabetes," a predisposition to develop diabetes. The good news: Both conditions can be prevented or controlled through weight loss, dietary changes and exercise.
3. A. Risk of having diabetes goes up as you age; almost 25 percent of Americans over age 60 have diabetes. But, unlike other age-related conditions, such as an intolerance for music over a certain decibel level, this one is not inevitable.
4. A. The usual type 2 diabetes test is the fasting plasma glucose test, which measures the level of glucose in your blood. Request the test if you suspect you might be at risk for diabetesif you're overweight or over age 60, and especially if you experience frequent urination, unexpected weight loss, blurred vision or chronic thirst, hunger or fatigue.
5. C. You won't necessarily need insulin to control type 2 diabetes; however, you will need self-control. Start exercising; 20 to 30 minutes per day is ideal. Brisk walking is great; yoga, Pilates or weight training to build lean body mass is even better. You'll have to cut back on sweets, starches and fried foods, but an occasional cookie or ice cream is probably all right (assuming your doctor agrees).
6. B. Flip-flops are a fashion faux pas for diabetics because of a side effect, peripheral neuropathy, which hampers your awareness of sensation in your feet and hands. Unprotected feet could develop sores and infection without your knowing. Choose shoes that protect and support your feet. Baby your feet with unscented moisturizer, and examine them for calluses, ulcers, sores that don't heal or changes in the size or shape of your toes. If you notice a change, see your physician promptly.
7. C. Losing weight is easier said than done, but you don't have to whittle your body to supermodel-size to cut your risk.  A mere 5 to 7 percent weight loss can slash your odds of getting diabetes by as much as 58 percent.
8. B. Cereal rules! A multiyear study of 25,000 people conducted in Germany showed that those who consumed more dietary fiber (about 29 grams per day) in cereal, grain and bread were significantly less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who consumed 15 grams or less per day.
9. A. Call it the Starbucks effect: A long-term University of Minnesota study found a link between the consumption of coffee and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This could have to do with the fact that coffee is a good source of magnesium, which may lower the risk for diabetes.
10. C. Diabetes doesn't play political favorites. But it does affect American Indians and Native Alaskans (16.5 percent), African-Americans (11.8 percent) and Hispanics (10.4 percent) significantly more than whites (6.6 percent) and Asians (7.5 percent).