November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Anson County Extension Office is working to bring awareness to the disease.
Diabetes is a growing national health problem. Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, representing 9.4% of the US population. An additional 84 million Americans have prediabetes, a risk factor for developing diabetes in the future. It is estimated that one-third of adults over 18 years of age have prediabetes, 70% of whom will eventually go on to develop diabetes according to an American Diabetes Association expert panel. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US and North Carolina. In 2018, 16.8% of the total population in the county had diabetes.
Information from the National Cooperative Extension site states, Diabetes results in significant morbidity with its associated human and financial costs. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, and people with diabetes are at increased risk of vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and amputation of toes, feet, or legs. Vulnerable populations with less access to social, environmental, informational and healthcare resources bear a disproportionate portion of this burden.
Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose (sugar) resulting from defects in the production or action of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes, working together with their support network and their health care providers, can take steps to control the disease and lower your risk of complications. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 diabetes doesn’t produce insulin and type 2 diabetes doesn’t respond to insulin as well as it should and later will not make enough insulin. Common systems for both types are frequent urination, feeling very thirsty and drinking a lot, feeling very hungry, fatigue, blurry vision and cuts and sores that do not heal properly.
Three key components of diabetes treatment, the ABC of diabetes control, include optimal control of blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. The ABC treatment goals for most people with diabetes are: A1c less than 7, Blood pressure less than 130/80 mmHg and Cholesterol-LDL less than 100 mg/dl. Many people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose by following a healthy meal plan and exercise program, losing excess weight, taking oral medication and/or, in some cases, taking insulin.
Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES)—training that focuses on self-care behaviors such as healthy eating, being active and monitoring blood sugar—is a key step in improving health outcomes and quality of life for people with diabetes. People with diabetes should receive DSMES when their diabetes is diagnosed and as needed thereafter. If you think you or a loved one may have diabetes, contact your primary care physician and schedule an appointment for testing and consultation. Information in this article came from the USDA Extension site and a factsheet from the NC Division of Public Health.