What do you know about diabetes?

by Capt. Nina Dumas
86th Medical Operation Squadron

How much do you know about diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which 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.
One in three Americans and one in two minorities born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their

What are the types of diabetes?
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 the people over 45 years of age and is more common in overweight people.

What increases your risk of getting diabetes?                                                                                          
The major risk factor for type 1 diabetes is a family history diabetes and certain viruses.
The risk factors for type 2 diabetes are: older age, overweight or obesity, pre-diabetes, family history, prior history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity,  race and ethnicity.  

What are the common signs and symptoms of diabetes?                                                                     
The most common symptoms 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.  

What can you do to prevent diabetes?                                                                                                        
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.

What are the long term complications of diabetes?
Heart disease, stroke, eye disease (glaucoma, cataracts, blindness), nerve damage, and gum disease are some of the complications of diabetes.

How can I reduce the risk of complications?
Schedule regular checkups, including yearly physicals and eye exams, routine dental appointments, annual vaccines and perform 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.  

What is a diabetes action plan?
A complete guide to manage and prevent short term and long term complications of diabetes; for more information visit your disease manager (target ABC of diabetes: A1C, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol level)

For additional information, including diabetes self-management health  tips and diabetes group discussions, contact the 86th Medical Group Disease Management department at 479-2022 or 06371-46-2022, or visit the American Diabetes Association  website at www.diabetes.org or the Journey for Control website at www.journeyforcontrol.com.