Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a disease where the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that allows the body to use glucose for energy.  Nearly 26 million children and adults in the U.S. — 8.3 percent of the population — have diabetes, including 5.7 million who don’t know it. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Americans and 1 in 2 minorities will develop diabetes in their lifetime. 

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for almost 90 percent of all cases, usually occurs in people over 45 years of age and is more common in overweight people.                
The major risk factor for Type 1 diabetes is a family history of diabetes and certain viruses that are thought to contribute to diabetes. The risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are: older age, obesity, pre-diabetes, family history, prior history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity and race/ethnicity. 

The most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst and urination, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, blurred vision, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, tingling or loss of feeling in hands and feet, slow-healing sores or frequent infections, and erectile dysfunction. 

There is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes.  Keeping an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle may prevent Type 2 diabetes. Monitor your blood pressure, take your medications and self-monitor your blood sugar as directed by your health care provider. Stop smoking and learn coping methods to manage stress.
To prevent short and long term complications of diabetes, visit your health care provider or diabetes educator at least four times a year and talk about any problems you are having.

Some of the long-term complications of diabetes are heart disease, stroke, eye disease (glaucoma, cataracts and blindness), nerve damage and gum disease. Complications can be reduced by scheduling regular checkups, including yearly physicals and eye exams, routine dental appointments, annual vaccines, and by performing daily foot exams. Set your personal goals and review recommended goals for diabetes self-management action plan with your health care provider and/or disease manager. 

All diabetics should have a diabetes action plan. It is a complete guide to managing and preventing short-term and long-term complications of diabetes.
For additional diabetes self-management health tips and diabetes group discussion, contact the 86th MDG Disease Management department at 479-2022 or 06371-46-2022.

You may also visit the American Diabetes Association website at
www.diabetes.org or the Journey for Control at www.journeyforcontrol.com.

Activities planned in November include:
Wednesday, 1 to 3 p.m. — Diabetes & Healthy Eating (conversation map group discussion) in Bldg. 2114, PHA Conference Room 178    
Nov. 29, 11 a.m. — Patient education brown bag lunch at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (cafeteria); POC is Andrea Pudlowski
(Courtesy of 86th Medical Group)