National Diabetes Month

November 20, 2018
Katherine Geoghagan, RD, LDN, CDE
Katherine Geoghagan, RD, LDN, CDE

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November is National Diabetes Month.  Do you have diabetes or know someone that does?  It is likely because 30 million Americans have diabetes with  another 7 million that are walking around that don’t even know they have diabetes.  

What is diabetes and why do we need to be concerned about it?  Diabetes is a metabolic disease that does not allow your body to use food as energy.  When we eat, we need a hormone called insulin to help get that energy from our bloodstream to our muscles. With diabetes a person either does not make insulin or your body doesn’t use it efficiently.  When sugar builds up in your bloodstream you may experience symptoms such as extreme thirst, frequent urination, hunger, blurry vision or irritability. If left untreated this high blood sugar can damage tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, heart, eyes and nervous system.  Diabetes can be controlled with with insulin, oral medications, diet and exercise. Uncontrolled diabetes costs Americans up to $ 300 billion a year in health care costs.

How do you know if you have diabetes?  There is a risk assessment questionnaire you can take to determine your risk  http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test  There are 3 types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational.  Type 2 diabetes is the most common. There are risk factors such as family history of diabetes, African american and native american heritage, being over 40 years old, overweight and inactivity.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes. With type 1 diabetes a person will need insulin for survival. Type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with weight management, diet and exercise and oral medications.

If you have diabetes or are at risk ask you doctor for a referral for diabetes education.  Internal Medicine Associates has a certified diabetes education program. Most insurance companies will cover diabetes education and some will cover weight loss management.