It’s estimated that many people in the United States have diabetes and don’t know it.

Diabetes is a serious disease that occurs when the body makes high levels of blood sugar.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It affects the way your body breaks down sugar in your blood. There often are no early symptoms with type 2 diabetes.

Early testing may help people avoid the more serious problems that are often part of this disease. These could involve long-term harm to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

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Infographic courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

People with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes have a much higher chance of stroke, heart disease and vascular disease.

Adults who are overweight and have risk factors like high blood pressure or high cholesterol should be screened every three years starting at age 45, according to the American Diabetes Association.

For people with other health issues or a family history of diabetes, testing may be done at an earlier age and more often.

These are normal tests your doctor will do as part of your yearly health exam. These tests often are covered by your health plan at no added out-of-pocket cost to you, if your doctor is in your health plan’s network.*

Our diabetes education series has helpful information from Teresa Kunath, RN, a diabetes nurse educator with Blue Cross and Blue Shield.