Knowledge is power: 5 things to know about diabetes
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and World Diabetes Day has been recognized on Nov. 14 every year since 1991. It was created by the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. The campaign’s theme for 2017 is Women and Diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health complications, such as heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage and eye problems.
Across the globe, 415 million people have diabetes. If nothing is done, it is estimated that this number will rise to 642 million by 2040, according to the IDF.
Here are five things you should know about diabetes.
Diabetes in the U.S.
A national report card on diabetes released in July by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that diabetes is as American as apple pie. Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes, which puts them at a high risk for developing the condition.
Nearly a quarter of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it. According to the CDC report card, 7.2 million Americans have diabetes and don’t know it. In all, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4 % of the U.S. population, have diabetes. Of those, 23.1 million have been diagnosed with the condition.
What about women?
Across the world today, there are 199 million women living with diabetes, according to the IDF. By 2040, that number is projected to rise to 313 million. Women with type 2 diabetes are almost 10 times more likely to have heart disease, and diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally.
Who’s at risk?
According to the CDC, among U.S. adults:
• American Indians/Alaska Natives had the highest prevalence of diagnosed diabetes for both men (14.9%) and women (15.3%).
• Overall, prevalence was higher among American Indians/Alaska Natives (15.1%), non-Hispanic blacks (12.7%), and people of Hispanic ethnicity (12.1%) than among non-Hispanic whites (7.4%) and Asians (8.0%).
• Prevalence varied by education level, which is an indicator of socioeconomic status. Specifically, 12.6% of adults with less than a high school education had diagnosed diabetes versus 9.5% of adults who graduated from high school and 7.2% of those with more than a high school education.
Prevention is possible
Doctors of osteopathic medicine, or DOs, believe good health is about more than the absence of illness. Preventive medicine is at the heart of a DO’s holistic approach toward wellness. When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the most common form, adopting a healthy lifestyle can have a big impact. Making a few changes to your lifestyle, such as eating more healthfully, exercising and losing weight, can decrease your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Joining a diabetes prevention program can help reverse prediabetes and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. The lifestyle change programs also lower patients’ risk of having a stroke or heart attack. You can find a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention course on their web page.
For those with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association believes that setting a personalized treatment plan with your doctor is the key to keeping your condition in check by meeting your AIC goal. AIC measures your average blood glucose over the past 2-3 months and is a good indicator of how you are managing your diabetes. They’ve launched America’s Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals program to urge people to do just that. To join the challenge, visit americasdiabeteschallenge.com.
As we approach World Diabetes Day, here are some related posts popping up across social media.
— Int. Diabetes Fed. (@IntDiabetesFed) September 11, 2017
— World Diabetes Day (@WDD) October 16, 2017
— Int. Diabetes Fed. (@IntDiabetesFed) October 31, 2017