Diabetes Awareness Month - November
Diabetes is a very serious chronic disorder affecting the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates and fat. It’s a condition that does not properly process food for use as energy. Serious health complications uncontrolled diabetes can cause include: heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, lower extremity amputations, and other health issues. November being the American Diabetes month we want to raise awareness about diabetes, it’s risk factors, and encourage people to make healthy life changes.
As many as one in eleven Americans have diabetes which means more than 29 million people. When you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin as well as it should so it causes sugars to build in the blood stream. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body does not produce any insulin, critical in transporting sugar from bloodstream into body cells for energy. It usually is diagnosed in childhood or young adulthood and these individuals must take insulin daily. Type 2 diabetes is more common form of diabetes also known as acquired diabetes. These individuals develop a progressively decreased secretion of insulin. There are several risk factors in developing Type 2 diabetes: increasing age, high blood pressure, obesity (BMI of >30), physical inactivity, family history, ethnicity (Hispanic, African American, Asian, or American Indian), and personal history of gestational diabetes which typically disappears when pregnancy is over. Type 2 diabetes generally has few or no symptoms at first. Therefore, you might not know you have it just through symptoms. Some of diabetes symptoms include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, sudden vision changes, feeling very tired, very dry skin, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, slow healing sores, and more infections than usual.
Ways individuals at high risk for Type 2 diabetes may prevent acquiring diabetes are through weight loss (7% of body weight), regular physical activity (150 min/week), increase dietary fiber, foods with whole grain, as well as screening tests at a healthcare provider’s office. The recommendations are to begin diabetes screening all patients beginning at age 45, especially those who are overweight or obese, at 3 year intervals and if patient has multiple risk factors, screening should be done earlier and more frequently. Some of the screening tests include fasting plasma glucose, two hour oral glucose tolerance test, or glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) test which is defined as the average blood glucose levels over previous 3 months.