November Is American Diabetes Month

Each November, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) observes American Diabetes Month. As defined by the CDC, diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 1 out of 4 don’t know it. This month, BEDHD would like to raise awareness of and help folks differentiate between the three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). Each type requires a different plan of action to manage the disease and doctors should always be involved to help craft these plans.

  1. Type 1 diabetes means the body does not make enough insulin. This is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults but can develop at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to survive. There is no known way to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes.
  2. Type 2 diabetes is when your body cannot use insulin properly (insulin resistance). This is the most common type of diabetes and can develop at any age. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by staying at a healthy weight, eating healthily and exercising regularly. If ignored or mismanaged, type 2 diabetes can cause serious health complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and loss of toes, feet or legs.
  3. Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. This can go away after the baby is born but can increase both the mother and baby’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. About 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes may be preventable by losing weight if you’re overweight BEFORE getting pregnant and engaging in regular physical activity. Be sure to talk with a doctor about healthy pregnancy weight gain and have blood sugar checked regularly to stay on track.

Although it is not considered one of the “three”, prediabetes affects 1 out of 3 American adults. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be considered type 2 diabetes. This can be prevented in the same way as type 2: staying at a healthy weight, eating healthily and exercising regularly.

Diabetes is no joke. This month, BEDHD urges its residents to set up an appointment with their doctor, get their blood sugar checked, craft a plan to follow and get on the road to living their healthiest life! For more information about diabetes, visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes or www.diabetes.org.

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on November 27, 2018.