According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 29 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes (about 9.3 percent of the population). Most of these have Type 2 diabetes.
About 25 percent of these do not know they have this disease, and many may have already developed serious and life-threatening complications due to nontreatment of their undiagnosed diabetes.
Another 86 million (or about 37 percent of U.S. adults) probably have prediabetes and are at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. By the year 2050, if the current trend continues, the CDC estimates that one in three American adults will have diabetes.
To promote recognition about this major health problem during Diabetes Awareness month in November, Lawrence Memorial Hospital will be hosting a free Diabetes Information Fair on Nov. 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Drop by Conference Room A in the lower level of LMH to learn more about both prediabetes and diabetes; talk with exhibitors who support those with diabetes; and take advantage of free screenings, including finger stick glucose (blood sugar), blood pressure, height, weight and body mass index. Please note, all screenings will close at 7:15 p.m. No advance registration is needed to attend the fair. Light refreshments will be served.
People with diabetes either don’t make enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or can’t use insulin properly (Type 2 diabetes). Insulin is what carries glucose into body cells, where it can be used for energy. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t use it effectively, blood sugar builds up in the blood.
High blood sugar levels can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputations and neuropathy (nerve damage). Many of those with poorly controlled or progressing diabetes will have a shortened life span as well as a life restricted by disability due to their disease.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight; a high blood glucose level; a history of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy; high blood pressure; an unhealthy cholesterol profile; being physically inactive or eating a less than healthy diet; smoking; as well as age, gender; family history; or being a member of an at-risk racial group.
Before people develop Type 2 diabetes, they almost always have prediabetes. In prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not quite high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Recent research shows that some long-term damage to the body (especially to the heart and circulatory system) may even occur during the prediabetes phase. No change in lifestyle usually leads to diabetes within 10 years. Each year, about 11 percent of people with prediabetes develop Type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that people who have prediabetes may be able to prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes by eating healthy, being physically active and managing their weight.
Take action; know and reduce your risk factors for diabetes. Learn more and take a quiz at diabetes.org. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and consult your health care provider about how often you should be tested for diabetes.
If you already have prediabetes or diabetes, lead a healthy lifestyle and follow all recommendations for medication and screenings as advised by your health care provider.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital offers several services for those with prediabetes and diabetes. Lawrence Endocrinology is a specialty physician practice offering care and treatment for those with diabetes and other endocrine disorders. Patients can consult with Mark Oertel, MD, and his staff. For more information, contact (785) 505-5885.
Certified staff at the LMH Diabetes Education Center see those with diabetes for education about diet, exercise and medication and disease management. Participation in the training is by physician referral. They also offer a free monthly support group for the community as well as a quarterly free class for those who have or are at risk for prediabetes. For more information, contact (785) 505-3062 or go to lmh.org/ diabetes. The Diabetes Education Center at LMH is recognized by the American Diabetes Association as meeting the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs.
For general information about prediabetes or diabetes, review the online health library at lmh.org or visit the American Diabetes Association at diabetes.org.
— Aynsley Anderson Sosinski, MA, RN, is Community Education Coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She is a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach. She can be reached at email@example.com. Meg Mougel is a Community Education intern at LMH.