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November Brings Diabetes Awareness | Features


November is America’s Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness of diabetes nationwide. Join us this month to recognize the importance of this growing health condition affecting more than 34 million people in the United States.

Yes, that’s 34 million people. Breaking it down means that 1 in 10 Americans, or 10% of the population, has diabetes.

In Kentucky, the prevalence of diabetes across the state is 13.7%, higher than the national average. Kentucky has the eighth highest prevalence of diabetes in the United States. In 2016, diabetes mortality was the fourth highest in the country.

We all know people with diabetes, maybe even you. But perhaps what you didn’t know is that one in five diabetics is unaware of diabetes. In addition to this, an increasing number of 86 million Americans are suffering from prediabetes, and it is clear that there is a true national diabetes epidemic. Prediabetes, where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes, increases the risk of developing diabetes.

A brief review reminds us that diabetes is a chronic (long-term) illness that affects how the body converts food into energy and that blood sugar and blood sugar levels are too high. The cells of your body need glucose from food for energy. Insulin, made by the pancreas, is a helper or “key” to get that glucose from food into cells. When you have diabetes, you either don’t make enough insulin or your body isn’t using it properly. As a result, glucose and sugar in the blood rise.

Over time, diabetes can cause very serious health problems such as heart disease, kidney failure, vision loss, stroke, toe, foot, and even foot loss. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. And this illness is very expensive. Medical costs for diabetics are twice as high as for diabetics. In 2017, $ 327 billion was spent on medical care for people diagnosed with diabetes, losing jobs and wages.

But that is not all fate and darkness. In fact, many diabetes-related illnesses and deaths can be delayed, reduced or prevented. Sure, you can’t change some of the risk factors such as age, ethnicity, and family history, but there are some that can affect you to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

Often, some basic lifestyle changes can help reverse or prevent prediabetes. In a study of diabetes prevention programs, reducing calorie intake and eating a healthy diet resulted in moderate weight loss (about 5-7%) and increased physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week, type 2 It has been shown to reduce the incidence of diabetes by 58%.

For those who already have diabetes, these same lifestyle changes are essential: after a healthy diet, they become physically active and reach a healthy weight. It is also important to bring your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Make sure you have consistent, high-quality health care and that you are taking your medication as directed. Your health care provider, seen on a regular basis, can help you manage your ABC: A — Regularly monitor your A1C levels, B — Keep checking your blood pressure, C — Control your cholesterol and s — quit or not start smoking.

Finally, diabetes self-management education and support helps you learn the skills to manage diabetes, deal with the emotional effects of diabetes, and understand all the self-care strategies that help you live the best life with diabetes. I will. Registered dietitians and nurses specially trained to assist in the management of diabetes are an important part of the care planning team. This diabetes education and support is often covered by insurance. Talk to your healthcare provider and ask for a referral to diabetes education or nutritional counseling to help you manage your diabetes.

For more information, please visit one of the following websites:

Beth Cecil, RDN, LD are registered dietitians and managers of community wellness at Owensboro Health. She has been a dietitian for 24 years and has been involved in wellness, health promotion and community education at Owensboro Health for the past 13 years. Beth is passionate about health and nutrition and is working hard to promote Owensboro Health’s mission to improve the health of the community.


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