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Diet, a healthy lifestyle, and physical activity have always been the cornerstones when it comes to taking your well-being into your own hands, but now more than ever during stressful times it’s even more important to stay healthy. Did you know that 88 million people aged 18 years and older are considered to have prediabetes and might not even know? November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. Consider these statistics about diabetes from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Fast Facts on Diabetes
- Total: 34.2 million people have diabetes (10.5% of the US population)
- Diagnosed: 26.9 million people, including 26.8 million adults
- Undiagnosed: 7.3 million people (21.4% are undiagnosed)
- Total: 88 million people aged 18 years or older have prediabetes (34.5% of the adult US population)
- 65 years or older: 24.2 million people aged 65 years or older have prediabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
More than 34 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually, your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and can go on for a long time without being noticed (sometimes there aren’t any noticeable symptoms at all). Because symptoms can be hard to spot, it’s important to know the risk factors and to see your doctor to get your blood sugar tested if you have any of them.
Testing for Type 2 Diabetes
A simple blood test will let you know if you have diabetes. If you’ve gotten your blood sugar tested at a health fair or pharmacy, follow up at a clinic or doctor’s office to make sure the results are accurate.
Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mostly by you, with support from your health care team (including your primary care doctor, foot doctor, dentist, eye doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist, diabetes educator, and pharmacist), family, and other important people in your life. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but everything you do to improve your health is worth it!
Develop a healthy eating and activity plan
- Test your blood sugar and keep a record of the results
- Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and what to do about it
- If needed, give yourself insulin by syringe, pen, or pump
- Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early
- Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly
- Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care
- Consider enrolling in the St. Anthony Diabetes Prevention Program group classes: a yearlong, lifestyle change program with the goal of prevention of type 2 diabetes. Focus of the program is on behavioral modification of meal plans, physical activity, and emotional awareness.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key when it comes to diabetes, along with the support of a trusted team of healthcare providers, registered dieticians, certified diabetes educators, and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners. Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes can be devastating, but at St. Anthony Chronic Care Center / Diabetes Clinic, we’re here to educate, support, and help you to live the best life possible. Call us at (712) 794-5901.
St. Anthony Regional Hospital (Carroll, IA) is dedicated to improving the health of the people we serve. We believe in providing high-quality, healthcare services responsive to the needs of our patients. For more information, visit our website or call us at 712-792-3581. Follow us on Facebook!
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