Chesterton Tribune



Porter Health Care System encourages residents to take a diabetes risk assessment

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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 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.

Diabetes occurs 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:

-- Increased urination, thirst or fatigue

-- Wounds or sores that heal slowly

-- Tingling in your feet

-- Weight loss accompanied with increased appetite

-- Blurred vision

Historically, Type 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.

Everyone is encouraged to take the Diabetes Risk Assessment at on the national alert day, March 22, to determine their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

For more information about the program, call 219-263-7375.



Posted 3/21/2016




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