November is Diabetes Month
By Sheila Storbakken, Registered Dietitian of Osceola Regional Health Center
More than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. 96 million of US adults – over a third- have prediabetes and more than 8 in 10 of them don’t know they have it. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese. Pretty scary statistics, right?
To be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, your fasting blood glucose would need to be greater than 126 mg/dl on two different occasions. To be diagnosed with Prediabetes, your blood sugar would need to be 100-125 mg/dl. For most people who have prediabetes, this can lead to Type 2 Diabetes, unless steps are taken to improve their health.
You might wonder, “Why is this important?” Diabetes can lead to many complications in your body if your blood sugar is not well-controlled. Some of these complications include eye damage, kidney damage, and increased risk for heart attack and decreased circulation that can lead to poor-healing sores on feet or legs, which may lead to amputation. It is important to know your family health history, as having a close blood relative who has diabetes, can also increase your risk of developing diabetes.
What are some of the symptoms of diabetes that you may experience if you blood sugars are elevated?
Increased thirst, increased urination, blurry vision, excessive hunger, frequent infections, sores that do not heal promptly and tiredness.
What steps can you take if you have diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes?
- Meet with your physician to determine your risk and to plan your next steps.
- Ask your physician about a referral for diabetes education, which is available at Osceola Regional Health Center, where you would meet with the Diabetes Education Team (Sheila Storbakken Registered Dietitian and Jenna Heyen, Pharmacist).
- Learn about healthy eating and how healthier food choices may help you control your blood sugar to reduce your risk of complications.
- Often losing weight may decrease your risk. Sometimes weight loss of 10% of your body weight is enough to improve your blood sugar control.
- Increase your daily activity. Frequent activity is important to improve blood sugar control.
- Try to find ways to decrease stress in your life. Uncontrolled stress can also increase your blood sugars.
- Know your numbers. Knowledge is power! Numbers to be aware of: blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Discuss these results with your physician.
Diabetes can sound scary and mysterious. However, by working with your health care professionals, you can take charge, improve your health and feel empowered instead of just another statistic!