October 29, 2010
What do Halle Berry, Nick Jonas, Larry King and Smokin’ Joe Fraiser have in common? All of these celebrities have diabetes. In fact, diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans. Worldwide, there are over 250 million people diagnosed with diabetes. And, every ten seconds two additional people develop diabetes. In the same amount of time one person dies from diabetes-related causes. In 2006, uncontrolled high blood sugar was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Diabetes does not discriminate. It can affect persons of any age, race, or socio-economic status. To pay tribute to those with diabetes and to help spread the word regarding treatment and the search for a cure, World Diabetes Day is held each November. The current focus is on Diabetes Education and Prevention. To check your risk and learn more about the prevention and care of diabetes, join Fort HealthCare on November 15 for the Diabetes Day: Walk and Wellness Screening.
Free health screenings will be available 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Fort Memorial Hospital. Please use the Ambulatory Service entrance on McMillen Street. People with diabetes, family members and those seeking to understand their health are encouraged to participate. There will be refreshments, door prizes, information on diabetic care and living a healthy lifestyle. In addition, everyone is invited to walk some laps through the halls of the hospital. Those interested can do a pre- and post-walk glucose check to better understand the effects of exercise on blood sugar levels.
Fort HealthCare diabetes educator, Rhonda Perdelwitz, RN encourages, “Now is the time to take control of your diabetes. Ask your doctor for diabetes self-management education.” She continues, “Annual follow-up with a dietician and nurse educator is a Medicare benefit most people don’t know about.”
Medical literature cites three specific forms of the disease: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but is usually diagnosed in childhood. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin so daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown, but genetics, viruses and autoimmune problems may play a role.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. Over 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes (early type 2 diabetes). Type 2 usually occurs in adulthood, but young people are increasingly being diagnosed with this disease. In a person with type 2, the pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal, often because the body does not respond well to insulin. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, although it is a serious condition. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common due to the increasing occurrence of obesity and failure to exercise. Over 50 percent of type 2 diabetes cases are preventable. Key preventable risk factors of type 2 diabetes include obesity and overweight, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition.
Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.
The warning signs of diabetes include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, vomiting and stomach pain, blurred vision, frequent infections, slow-healing wounds, lack of concentration and a tingling sensation in the hands or feet.
Not all these signs are present in everyone and having some of the signs does not constitute a diagnosis of diabetes. If you are concerned about having diabetes or are experiencing any of the warning signs, contact your healthcare provider.
If you already have diabetes, controlling it is crucial. Since most diabetics are responsible for their own care it is important to know how to self-manage the disease. The best approach to care is multidisciplinary. The care team usually includes a primary physician, diabetic educator, dietician, ophthalmologist, podiatrist and possibly an endocrinologist. Fort HealthCare offers a diabetic education program to guide patients in developing a self-management care program. The diabetic education series offers a venue to connect with other diabetics and learn valuable information through various diabetes-related presentations.
To learn more about diabetes and the programs available at Fort HealthCare, visit FortHealthCare.com/Diabetes.