Diabetes is a
growing epidemic in the United States. According to the American Diabetes
Association, 29.1 million children and adults in the United States are
affected by diabetes. More concerning still is that about 8.1 million
Americans who currently live with diabetes go undiagnosed.
“One of the
concerns regarding the number of undiagnosed patients is that fact that once
a diagnosis is made patients may already be experiencing complications such
as hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease,”
explains Sheila Roser, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Diabetes Program
Coordinator at Porter Regional Hospital. “It’s crucial for people to know
their risk for developing diabetes.”
To raise awareness,
Porter Health Care System is encouraging the public to go to
porterhealth.com/DiabetesRisk and take its Diabetes Risk Assessment to
uncover their likelihood for developing type 2 diabetes.
March 22 is
designated as the American Diabetes Association Alert Day, held each year in
March as an effort to raise awareness of the prevalence of diabetes and to
encourage the public to take action when it comes to their health.
when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or when the body cannot
use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the amount
of sugar in the body. Without it, blood sugar stays too high, and high sugar
levels can disturb critical body functions.
Diabetes has two
main types: Type 1 and Type 2. Common warning signs for both types include:
urination, thirst or fatigue
-- Wounds or sores
that heal slowly
-- Tingling in your
-- Weight loss
accompanied with increased appetite
-- Blurred vision
2 diabetes has been an adult disease, but the fastest-growing group
exhibiting signs of diabetes - and prediabetes - are children and teens.
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People who are
seriously overweight, not physically active or who have a family history of
diabetes are considered “at risk” and should take steps to protect
themselves from the disease.
The number one way
to prevent diabetes is to maintain a healthy diet. For those at risk,
high-fiber foods - whole-grain and bran products, beans, fruits and
vegetables - can help lower blood sugar and blood fat levels in the body.
It’s important to
also control sodium intake, explains Roser. In addition to limiting regular
table salt, people should pay close attention to sodium content on food
labels. Sodium levels can be extremely high in foods such as frozen dinners,
cheese and many packaged products.
Exercise is another
key to diabetes prevention and treatment, she continues. Exercising
regularly not only burns calories and fat, but also helps control blood
sugar levels in the body, increase blood flow, reduce stress levels and
boost energy. It is highly advised to get your physicians approval before
beginning an exercise program.
A weight loss of
just 10 to 20 pounds can make a major impact. A recent National Institutes
of Health study found that lowering body weight by 7 percent -- an average
of 15 pounds -- through a low-fat diet and exercising for 150 minutes a week
(30 minutes daily, five days a week) can decrease a person’s risk of
developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent.
encouraged to take the Diabetes Risk Assessment at porterhealth.com/DiabetesRisk
on the national alert day, March 22, to determine their likelihood of
developing type 2 diabetes.
information about the program, call 219-263-7375.