November is National Diabetes Month. The latest article I read said, “the world is losing the battle against diabetes.” Somewhere around 382 million people are estimated to be living with diabetes throughout the world. Most of these cases are Type 2 Diabetes, which is associated with obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the United States 25.8 million children and adults have diabetes.
I believe Diabetes education is so important for everyone. My Uncle Fred was the first person I ever knew with Diabetes. My earliest memories of him begin with him sitting in a wheel chair…he had to have a couple of toes amputated because his diabetes was out of control. Sadly, he didn’t take the disease seriously and eventually died from complications. Needless to say, diabetes runs in my family. For me it is important to have an annual checkup, so I can have a fasting blood glucose baseline that I can monitor.
Last month, my dearest friends’ son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he is five years old. They spent several scary days in the hospital trying to stabilize his blood glucose level and learning how to care for their son with insulin shots and a healthy diet.
Diabetes doesn’t discriminate and there is no cure, but it can be successfully managed.
Diabetes is a condition where the body either can’t produce insulin or the body doesn’t use its insulin correctly or doesn’t produce enough. Insulin is important because it moves glucose into our cells, which gives us our energy.
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Pre-diabetes may be related to too little insulin being produced or decreased response to insulin by the body.
Type 1 Diabetes occurs most often in children and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes is mostly associated with people who are overweight.
- A waist measurement is a good indicator of risk levels:
- For men, a waist larger than 40 inches increases the risk
- For women, a waist larger than 35 inches increases the risk
People with diabetes have risk of a range of dangerous complications, that may include damage to the heart, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
Signs that your glucose levels may be high are you feel sick, weak, tired, hungry, and thirsty. You will also urinate a lot and you will probably lose weight.
The National Diabetes Education Program list of risk factors:
- 45 years of age or older.
- The At-Risk Weight Chart shows my current weight puts me at risk.
- A parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
- Family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander.
- Had diabetes while pregnant (this is called gestational diabetes) or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
- Have been told that your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal.
- Blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, or have been told that you have high blood pressure.
- Cholesterol (lipid) levels are not normal. HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) is less than 35 or my triglyceride level is higher than 250.
- Are inactive, physically active less than three times a week.
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- The skin around the neck or in armpits appears dirty no matter how much you scrub. The skin appears dark, thick and velvety. This is called acanthosis nigricans.
- Have blood vessel problems affecting my heart, brain, or legs.
If you think you may have diabetes, see a doctor right away. Only a doctor can confirm a diabetes diagnosis.
Eating Healthy with Type 2 Diabetes