When Breanna Owens first discovered she had Type 1 diabetes, she says she was scared and started crying. But seven months later, she says it's really nothing.
"It's kind of overwhelming at first, but then it becomes a part of life," said Anna Owens, Breanna's mother.
The elder Owens said it's crucial to pay attention to the signs.
"I had noticed her being very tired, and as a parent, you're just finding reasons for things," said Anna.
Fatigue is one of the seemingly harmless symptoms of diabetes, along with being very hungry and thirsty, and losing an unusual amount of weight.
"I think God gave me wisdom," said Anna. "I actually got on the Internet and started doing symptoms and diagnosis and she had every single one for Type 1 diabetes."
Another important tip to know is diabetes can lead to complications.
"My mother, one day had an automobile accident. And we were just puzzled," said Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant. "She couldn't remember what had happened, and it was a long period of trying to diagnose that."
It turned out his mother had diabetes.
"Year after year, it seemed like it was worse. And finally kidney failure, dialysis, and eventually, we lost her to this disease," Bryant said.
Bryant has been named the honorary chairman for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi.
Health officials say they believe right now that thousands of residents could have diabetes and not know it. People who have dealt with the disease first-hand shared some helpful tips.
For many people, diabetes doesn't require a big lifestyle change.
"I mean, it just takes a little time out of your day to check your blood sugar and give yourself a shot," said Breanna.
"Something that really bothered her at first when she was diagnosed is that, 'I'm not going to be able to have birthday cake at a birthday party!'" said Anna.
But occasionally, when her blood sugar is low, Breanna can indulge in her favorite sugary snack.
Mississippi leads the nation in obesity, one of the main causes of Type 2 diabetes.