Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and the rates at which people are being diagnosed are on the rise.

For this month’s Health Check 12, James Quinones sets the record straight about some common myths and facts we all need to know.

Deirdre Nezzie was in shock when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

“I cried,” she said, “and was in denial for two to three months.”

She didn’t know much about it

“I thought it was like the common cold: You take medication for a week and it’s gone.”

Deirdre is not alone.

The American Diabetes Association estimates some 29 million Americans either have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

New research is offering new insights into diagnosing and treating the disease.

For example, type 1 diabetes, where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, was once called juvenile diabetes, because it was thought it only occurred in younger people.

“Age is no longer a factor,” said Sathya Jyothinagaram, the executive director for the Institute of Diabetes at Banner Health. “In fact, the oldest person I have ever diagnosed type 1 diabetes in was 77 years old when she first developed diabetes.”

Likewise, type 2 was once called mature-onset diabetes.

“Nowadays we see it in teenagers. In fact, the fastest-growing segment of the population that is developing type 2 are teenagers,” Jyothinagaram said.

Obesity and a genetic pre-disposition to diabetes are, in fact, the leading causes of type 2.

For Nezzie, the diagnosis was a wake up call. She overhauled her lifestyle and signed up for a triathaon.

“I was 230 pounds when I first started,” she said. “I did a triathalon and lost 50 pounds. My lifestyle change was from sitting at home to running, swimming, biking.”

Deirdre is now part of the Tour de Cure, a cycling event raising money for diabetes research that is happening on March 19.