Did you know that 1 in 11 Americans today has diabetes? Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. It affects men and women, people young and old, and people of all races, shapes and sizes. Often there are no outward signs from the 29 million Americans who fight this chronic illness every day. That’s why there is a critical need to foster awareness and education while breaking down stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings about this growing public health crisis that affects so many.
This is exactly why the American Diabetes Association marks each November as American Diabetes Month: to bring extra attention to the disease and the tens of millions of people affected by it.
American Diabetes Month 2016: This is Diabetes
This year, the organization will showcase real-life stories of friends, families and neighbors managing the day-to-day triumphs and challenges of diabetes. The 2016 campaign is inviting us to use #ThisIsDiabetes to share personal stories and start a dialogue about what it means to live with diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is more than the medications and devices used to manage it. For many, diabetes dictates how they organize their day, what they eat at every meal, how they choose to be physically active and how they spend their money. People with diabetes can have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes, as type 1 and type 2 require very specific forms of treatment.
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and there is no known way to prevent it. Approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, which means their body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is critical for the body to transport glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes). Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; others may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults.
- Some women develop gestational diabetes, high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy, which requires treatment to protect the health of the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes affects approximately 9.2 percent of pregnant women.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes: Know if You’re at Risk
If you experience any of these symptoms, please consult with one of our physicians for a diabetes screening. Early detection and proper treatment is key in preventing the symptoms of diabetes from manifesting into more aggressive medical complications.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes
- Weight loss (even with a proper diet)
- Incessant thirst
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Numbness in hands or feet
- Nerve pain
If you think you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes or that you may have prediabetes, you should know that diabetes prevention is proven, possible, and powerful. For example, studies show that people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states there are two keys to success: getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week as well as eating a variety of low-fat foods and reduce the number of calories eaten in a day.
Experiencing Symptoms of Diabetes?
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms of diabetes and you have reason to suspect you might be ill, please come see us at either of our medical offices in Middletown, NJ or Berkeley Heights, NJ. We are open 7 days a week, including holidays, and offer walk-in immediate urgent care treatment. Contact us today with any questions.