12 Things You Didn’t Know About Diabetes

8. Your sex plays a role…but so does your species.

Men are more likely than women to die from diabetes, but, strangely enough, male dogs are less likely to develop the disease than female dogs. Male cats, on the other hand, are more likely to develop it than female cats. Squirrels, foxes, hippos, dolphins, and many other animals are also capable of developing diabetes.

cat and puppy friendship- meeting meet

7. Race is also a factor.

For every 1000 Caucasians that exist in the United States, there are about 36 cases of type 2 diabetes. There are 61 cases for every 1000 Hispanics and a whopping 74 cases for every 1000 African Americans. That means nearly 7.5% of African Americans are living with diabetes. However, Caucasian children are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than any other race.

Young women

6. Breastfeeding can help.

Breastfeeding your baby for at least three months has been shown to decrease your child’s risk of Type 1 diabetes and obesity. Breastfeeding also helps new mothers lose the baby weight, which could decrease their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

mother breast feeding and hugging baby

5. Before insulin, people with diabetes didn’t eat much.

Insulin was discovered in 1921. Before that, a diabetes diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. The only way to regulate blood sugar was to limit what you ate, so doctors often put their patients on diets that nearly starved them, recommending they eat only foods like oatmeal. We agree that oatmeal is a good option, but yikes.

oatmeal porridge

Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?