Whether you're returning a kick-off or cutting the grass, you need energy, and that comes from blood sugar. Diabetes develops when your body can't effectively control the amount of sugar in your blood. If the level of sugar in your blood is elevated, it can lead to serious illnesses like heart disease (see Heart Health page) and vision problems. But don't panic. While there isn't yet a cure for diabetes, it can be managed.


  • Nearly 7.8 million men in the U.S. have diabetes and about 1/3 of them don't know it.
  • There are two types of diabetes - type 1, developed in youth, is when your body doesn't produce enough insulin - the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Type 2 is the most common form, and it develops when your body cannot process natural insulin properly.
  • Researchers are still trying to pin down all the causes of diabetes, but we know that weight, exercise, and family history play a role in whether or not a person may get diabetes.


  • Get tested for diabetes, especially if it runs in your family, if you're overweight, over the age of 45, or are African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander.
  • Keep an eye out for some common symptoms- increased thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight gain or loss, numbness of extremities, or slow-healing sores or cuts. They may not seem like a big deal, but they're enough to point out to your doctor to determine if a test is necessary.
  • Keep weight down. Maintaining a healthy weight has been proven to slow the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  • Eat healthy and exercise regularly - both are essential for the proper treatment of diabetes.
  • Don't be shy about asking your doctor if you experience the symptoms listed above. Often, doctors can detect the likelihood of type 2 diabetes before the condition occurs. Depending on the type and severity of diabetes, treatment options may range from managing your diet to taking oral medications to insulin shots.

A heads-up: diabetes can sneak up on you, even if you feel great. But caught early enough, it doesn't have to keep you off the field. Think you might be at risk? Then take a look at the Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool at TacklingMensHealth.com.