The risk factors for diabetes are well-known, and preventive methods

have been shown to work, so responsibility for managing the disease

rests largely on patients, according to health-care officials.Seven percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, according to the

American Diabetes Association. And while type 2 diabetes is considered

an epidemic by most medical officials, prevention and management of the

disease is possible.

Dana Clarke, a specialist at the Utah Diabetes Center, said that

healthy living begins with knowing family history, monitoring food

intake and regular activity.

By disregarding these "simple" steps, the damage from diabetes to the

body can be devastating. Blindness, heart attack, stroke and the

amputation of extremities are possible outcomes when diabetes is not

monitored or is ignored.

"The good news is we have the tools for educated and motivated people

to help manage their diabetes," Clarke said. "Not just day to day, but

for decades and ultimately a lifetime of healthy living."Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and is a result of the body not

producing enough insulin, or cells in the body ignoring the insulin

produced. Unlike type 1 diabetes, in which the body does not produce

insulin, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes with healthy habits

and regular observation.

In 2005, the American Diabetes Association reported that 9.6 percent of

people between the ages of 20 and 60 had diabetes. In age groups above

60, 20.9 percent of individuals had diabetes. Ethnic minorities are at

a higher risk of diagnoses for diabetes than whites, according to the

study.Clarke recommended that people pay particular attention to their weight

and blood pressure, because they are often precursors to a diagnosis of

prediabetes. Typically there is more than one factor that leads to

diabetes, such as cardiovascular health, genetics and dietary habits.

While these are not all under an individual's immediate control, steps

can be taken to reduce the likelihood of diagnoses.

"More important than anything is for those prone from a family history

for diabetes to know. Intervention is prevention at young ages," Clarke

said. "And I don't think we're doing that."