NHM Health Focus:
American Diabetes Month
November is American Diabetes Month and a good time to remind ourselves why we should care about diabetes: Nearly 24 million children and adults in the United States, have diabetes. It is the leading cause of kidney disease, blindness, and amputation, yet nearly 25% of people who have diabetes don't even know it.
Campaigns like those sponsored by the National Diabetes Education Program
and the American Diabetic Association are designed to raise awareness
of and support for those with diabetes.
The National Diabetes Education Program reminds us that "about 65 percent of people with diabetes will die from a heart attack or stroke, yet two out of every three people with diabetes are unaware of their increased risk."
The good news: diabetes can be prevented.
"By losing a modest amount of weight, by getting 30 minutes
of physical activity 5 days a week and eating healthier, people with
pre-diabetes can delay or prevent the onset of the disease. The "Small
Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent type 2 Diabetes" campaign, the first-ever
national diabetes prevention campaign, spreads this important message
of hope to the millions of Americans with pre-diabetes" (NDEP).
"Control Your Diabetes for Life" program provides a foundation of knowledge about diabetes, guidelines for self-managing your diabetes, and resources to help you adopt healthy new lifestyle habits. (NDEP).
Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes" makes
the connection between diabetes and heart disease as it encourages people
with diabetes to control not only their blood glucose (sugar), but also
their blood pressure and cholesterol. By keeping all three levels as
close to normal as possible, people with diabetes can live long, healthy
Increasing awareness about the importance and benefits of diabetes
control is the key objective of the "Control Your Diabetes. For
Life." and National Diabetes Education Month.
"Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by high levels
of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin
action, or both. Diabetes can be associated with serious complications
and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control
the disease and lower the risk of complications" (CDC).
"Type 1 diabetes was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, the only cells in the body that make the hormone insulin that regulates blood glucose. Type 2 diabetes was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes."
"Type 2 diabetes may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. It usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce insulin."
"Gestational diabetes is a form of glucose intolerance that is diagnosed in some women during pregnancy"
You are at higher risk for diabetes if it runs in your family, or if
you are Native American, Hispanic American, African American or Pacific
"Just 10 years ago, Type 2 diabetes was virtually unknown in children
and adolescents. Indeed, the medical community commonly referred to
the condition as 'adult onset diabetes.' Today, it accounts for almost
50 percent of new cases of pediatric diabetes in some communities"
I at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes? (NDIC)
Diabetes Risk Test
(also available in Spanish
Symptoms. "People with diabetes may have SOME or NONE of the following
Unexplained weight loss
Sudden vision changes
Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
Feeling very tired much of the time
Very dry skin
Sores that are slow to heal
More infections than usual
Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may accompany some of
these symptoms in the abrupt onset of insulin-dependent diabetes, now
called Type 1 diabetes" (CDC).
Complications of diabetes can include:
Heart disease and stroke
High blood pressure
Nervous system disease
Complications of pregnancy
Complications of uncontrolled diabetes may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis
and hyperosmolar (nonketotic) coma. In addition, people with diabetes
are more susceptible to many other illnesses and, once they acquire
these illnesses, often have worse prognoses (American Diabetes Association).
Prevention of complications:
Glucose control reduces the risk of eye,
kidney, and nerve disease) by 40%.
Preventive care for eyes can
reduce severe vision loss by an estimated 50% to 60%.
Preventive care for kidneys can reduce
the decline in kidney function by 30% to 70%.
Preventive care for feet can reduce amputation
rates by 45% to 85%.
Blood pressure control can reduce heart
disease and stroke by 33% to 50%, and eye, kidney, and nerve disease
by approximately 33% (CDC).
At this time, Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but can be treated.
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or the risk greatly reduced. In both
cases, complications can be prevented by losing weight (if one is over
weight), controlling glucose levels, and controlling blood pressure.
A healthy diet and regular exercise are significant factors in preventing
and reducing complications of diabetes.
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has
these resources related to diabetes: