The disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.
Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, which is the number one cause of kidney failure and a leading cause of heart attacks resulting in death.
"I was eighteen when I was first diagnosed with diabetes,” says Melanie Martin.
Diabetes is a disease of impaired carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism due to lack of insulin or insulin resistance and this leads to high glucose levels.
Type 1 diabetes is usually, but not always, seen in children and is characterized by insulin deficiency.
Type 2 diabetes is more common and accounts for over 90 percent of all diabetic cases.
It usually results from obesity causing insulin resistance.
Heart disease and stroke are very common and account for most deaths in patients who are diabetics.
"One of my complications was last year I had a heart attack,” says Martin.
You are at risk of diabetes if you are overweight, have pre-diabetes, a family history, if you are black, Hispanic or of native American ancestry, physically inactive, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Symptoms include excessive thirst, blurry vision, headaches, yeast infections, impotency, drinking a lot, urinating a lot, feeling tired, weak and fatigued.
"I was always tired and thirsty and never had any energy,” says Martin.
Prevention is key, but that's not always possible.
Early detection and treatment can help prevent serious life and limb threatening complications. Therefore, Lifestyle changes are essential to ward off diabetes.
A low-fat and high-fiber diet and exercise can help protect you.
If you already have diabetes, then maintaining tight control of your blood sugars and adhering to a diabetic diet is crucial to live healthy and stay strong.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.