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Time to Triumph over Diabetes

Time to Triumph over Diabetes

Unfortunately, diabetes has become as American as apple pie. Here’s a few servings of the sobering statistics:

  • One in 11 Americans – that totals 29 million in all – currently has diabetes.
  • Another 86 million are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Every 23 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death nationwide.

November is American Diabetes Month, and ATRIO Health Plans is taking this opportunity to draw attention to the public health crisis that diabetes is becoming, and to spread the word that diabetes doesn’t equate to defeat. In fact, triumphing over this disease is unquestionable achievable. While type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, it most certainly can be managed successfully; and type 2 diabetes frequently can be headed off entirely.

Diabetes by the Numbers

Type 1 diabetes – which is usually diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood – occurs when the body doesn’t produce any insulin; insulin plays a crucial role in energizing cells. Those with type 1 – who account for about five percent of diabetics – must take insulin daily.

Those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes don't produce enough insulin, or their cells don't properly process the insulin that is produced. As a result, glucose stays in the bloodstream. Over time, accumulated glucose can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes. Consequently, diabetics are at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve disease, blindness, and amputations.

According to the National Diabetes Education Program, the risk of developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes increases for those who have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Getting little or no exercise.
  • Being overweight by 20 pounds or more.
  • Having a family member with type 2 diabetes.
  • Being more than 45 years old.
  • Giving birth to a baby weighing over nine pounds.
  • Having gestational diabetes during a pregnancy.
  • Being African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian American, or of Pacific-Islander descent.

Symptoms

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends consulting a doctor if any of the following symptoms are noticed:

  • Frequent need to urinate;
  • Increased thirst;
  • Unusual weight loss;
  • Extreme hunger;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal;
  • Fatigue;
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet.

Everyone age 45 or older should consider getting tested for diabetes, especially if they’re overweight. Those younger than 45 who are overweight and have one or more additional risk factors, also should consider getting tested.

Prevention

Research has found that moderate weight loss and exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Toward this end, the ADA recommendations include:

  • Eating a healthy diet – Choose foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and fibers, as well as those that are low in fat, salt, and sugar. A balanced daily diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, and fish.
  • Exercising regularly – Engage in physical activity for 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Suggested activities include walking, dancing, swimming, gardening, aerobics, and cycling.

Management

Diabetes definitely is manageable, but those diagnosed with the disease must play an active role. For example, if you’ve been prescribed diabetes medication – whether insulin or pills taken orally – it’s essential to not only continue taking the medication but to take it precisely as directed.

Diabetics who are compliant with their medication, follow their meal plan, and exercise regularly can end each day in triumph.

Sources:

https://healthfinder.gov/nho/Novembertoolkit.aspx

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Diabetes/PreventionTreatmentofDiabetes/Diabetes-Medications_UCM_313870_Article.jsp#.V_7Su_krJaQ

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/diabetes-control.html

http://main.diabetes.org/dorg/adm/adm-2016-fact-sheet.pdf

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/ndep/am-i-at-risk/diabetes-risk-factors/Pages/diabetesriskfactors.aspx