Understanding Diabetes risks and treatment

Published 9:00 am Monday, November 6, 2017

Diabetes is a public health crisis that is reaching epidemic proportions globally.  As Diabetes Alert Day was in March, November is American Diabetes Month, and Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day.

What is so significant about Nov. 14? It is the birthday of Frederick Banting, a Canadian physician who co-invented insulin used to treat diabetes.

It is important to understand the seriousness of the disease, and to take a proactive approach to realize healthy living with diabetes is an achievable goal for each individual diagnosed.

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Did you know that diabetes can lead to heart attack and stroke, blindness, or kidney failure?

Too much glucose, a type of sugar, in your blood can cause diabetes problems over time. High blood glucose can cause heart and blood vessel disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Damage to the eyes can lead to loss of sight or blindness. Nerve damage and poor blood flow can cause foot problems, sometimes leading to amputation.  You can prevent or delay diabetes problems by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control.

You may have diabetes problems if:

— your blood pressure is 130-140 over 80, or higher

— you have pain in your chest

— you have blurry or double vision, or feel pain or pressure in your eyes

— you have foot problems—such as blisters, ingrown toenails, cracked skin, or signs of infection

— your arms, hands, legs, or feet feel numb, or you feel shooting pains.

Have you been diagnosed with pre-diabetes?  If so, here are few things to think about.

A few alarming statistics:

— Every 23 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes.

— 86 million Americans are at risk for diabetes.

— Diabetes causes more deaths than AIDS and Breast Cancer combined.

It is important to recognize that many times, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program is a key component of the Nationals Diabetes Prevention Program.

The purpose of the DPRP is to recognize programs that have shown that they can effectively deliver a proven lifestyle change program (in person, virtual, or via distance learning) to prevent type 2 diabetes.

This proven program can help people with prediabetes and/or at risk for type 2 diabetes make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes and cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

To be eligible for referral to a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, patients must meet the following requirements:

— Be at least 18 years old,

— Be overweight (BMI ≥ 24)

— Have established risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, OR

— Be diagnosed with prediabetes within the past year or previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) while pregnant.

The program is offered at The Clark County Health Department and there will be an informational session at 4:45 p.m. Jan. 4, 2018. Pre-registration is required.

Call the Clark County Health Department at 744-4482 to find out about the cost of the program or email Amy Williams, MS, RD, LD at amyw.williams@ky.gov for more information.

Clark County Health Department provides programs for the entire family, including Smoking Cessation, WIC, HANDS, family planning, well child care/immunizations, and home health care.  For more information, call 744-4482 or visit www.clarkhealthdept.org.