Did you know over 29 million Americans have diabetes in our country, but only 1 in 4 are aware they have it? That’s why November has been dubbed National Diabetes Month, which is meant to raise awareness of the disease and the damage it can do if left unchecked. Education is key to understanding the risk factors and symptoms that can help you detect or avoid type 2 diabetes. Finding the balance between diet, activity, and medicine can help keep you strong and healthy.
Diabetes is a major concern for the healthcare system, with medical costs for those with the disease double as much as those without, while the risk of death is 50% higher. Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, can cause heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness. It can raise the risk of stroke, and damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to major infections that can require amputation. Gestational diabetes, caused by pregnancy, can harm an unborn child and turn into type 2. But it isn’t all bad news. Diabetes can be managed, and if caught in time, cause minimal to no damage.
The early symptoms of type 2 diabetes (which 9 out of 10 diabetics suffer from) are unfortunately easy to ignore, leading people to go undiagnosed for years. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to see your doctor.
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Feeling thirsty (sometimes constantly)
- Cuts that don’t heal, or heal slowly
Diabetes can strike anyone, no matter their heritage or gender, but certain groups, such as those with Native American, Inuit, Black, and Hispanic backgrounds are at higher risk. Other risk factors of type 2 diabetes include:
- Excess weight
- Activity level
- History of gestational diabetes
- Family history of diabetes
- High concentrations of belly fat
The good news? Diabetes can be managed. High blood sugar is what causes the damage to a diabetic’s body, and blood sugars can be brought down to normal levels with a balance of healthy eating, daily exercise, and medication. With help from Newman Regional Health’s Diabetes Education Center, you can learn which foods are best and what to avoid to keep your sugar levels steady through diabetic cooking classes, how exercise can help, and how to monitor your blood levels to keep strong and healthy well into your golden years. Call us at (620) 343-6800 ext. 1803 to learn more about what we offer today!