Over 90 percent of people with diabetes have the type 2 form. But because the symptoms are often slow to develop, someone can live with type 2 diabetes for years without realizing it — and before starting treatment.

For those who have been aware of their diagnosis for many years, the key to living well is being proactive. Making better diet choices, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy body weight are just some of the ways people with type 2 diabetes are staying on top of their health.

Gary Dominguez, 65 – Diagnosed in 2010

“I’m mostly thankful for the little bit of education I got up front that made me aware of the fact that if I could take care of myself, and learn how to manage diabetes, that I would be much better off for it in the long run. My understanding is that no matter what, over the course of time diabetes potentially gets worse for you, and I’m hoping to be able to stave off the results of some of the more dangerous aspects of diabetes by taking care of myself.”

Marcio Roxas, 50 - Diagnosed: 2000

"When I decided to change my management, quite honestly, I felt good for the first time. Because I know I’m not putting stuff in my body that will have a long-term consequences."

“What made me decide to make the change was this cataract surgery that I had five years ago. ... I hope that this will be my last diabetic-related surgery and I don’t want to go through any more pain like this."

Monica Richgels, 47 - Diagnosed: 2014

“My view has changed in the sense that I definitely think about what I’m going to eat. I pick and choose my battles, in terms of whether or not I put sugar in my coffee or sweeten my tea. I would rather save those moments and have a glass of wine with dinner, or a nice dessert when we go out.”

Theresa Anderson, 53 - Diagnosed: 1993

“The advice that I would give to someone who’s newly diagnosed is to follow the directions of your doctor. It’s going to be scary in the beginning, but if you just do what your doctor asks you to do, and follow his plan for you, things will get better for you over time.”

Jack Brooks, 48 - Diagnosed: 2001

“Pastries, doughnuts, [and] sodas are completely out of my diet. I just try to maintain stuff that I know doesn’t contain a lot of sugar. A lot of meats don’t have it. I limit the kinds of fruit that I have — apples have some but not as much as oranges. But as far as my diet goes, it’s just the sweets and the nonessentials [that] I’ve just pretty much completely eliminated, and it was for the better. I can feel better. I have more energy.”