By Carolina Boyd
November is a month in which we become more aware of the things and people in our lives that make us thankful. This month is also Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to bring awareness to diabetes, one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes.
“Diabetes Awareness Month is a good reminder for us to show our support, love and encouragement for friends and family members living with diabetes or are at risk for developing the disease,” said Ileana Martinez, Legacy Community Health Registered Dietitian.
There are two common types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in childhood and is the most common type of diabetes in children and teens. Those with type 1 are not able to produce insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows your body to utilize carbohydrates for energy.
Patients with type 2 diabetes produce insulin in their bodies but are unable to use it effectively. Over time they become more and more insulin resistant and their pancreas produces less of the hormone. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and eating a nutritious diet. Due to the growing obesity program in the US, younger people are increasingly being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
“Both types of diabetes can cause complications if left untreated. Some people experience no symptoms in the early stages of prediabetes or diabetes, however when glucose levels start raising to higher levels some of the more common symptoms include extreme thirst, frequent urination, numbness in the hands and feet and blurry vision,” said Martinez.
Diabetes and its complications can be prevented or delayed by improving your diet, avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active, going to your doctor regularly for screenings and taking your prescribed medications.
Being aware of the risk factors and symptoms of diabetes and sharing that information with your loved ones could reduce the risk of someone developing diabetes,” said Martinez.
Legacy has a diabetes health care team which includes: endocrinologists, primary care physicians, registered dietitians, as well as patient educators who teach diabetes management classes.
If you are concerned about diabetes, it is important to ask your Legacy provider to guide you into getting the help you need. Call 832-548-5000 to schedule an appointment.