November is National Diabetes Month

Monday, November 4, 2019

Did you know that every 20 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes?

November is National Diabetes Month, and there are many ways to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes, such as eating healthy, being physically active, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that impacts the way our body uses fuel from our food. When we eat, our body breaks down food for energy into glucose, or sugar in our blood. For glucose to be used, insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, must be present.

Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, extreme fatigue, numbness in hands and feet and frequent infections.

For all types of diabetes, management includes working with your health care team to eat healthy foods, monitor carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels, exercise appropriately and maintain a healthy weight.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and occurs in 5-10 percent of people with diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin, because the body does not produce it.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form where either the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to use it. Treatment may include taking diabetes medication or insulin therapy.

Gestational diabetes only occurs with pregnancy. It usually can be controlled with a special meal plan and exercise. Most women do not have diabetes after delivery, however they are at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Fifty-seven million people in the U.S. have prediabetes, a condition that may result in long-term damage to the body and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. In a Diabetes Prevention Program study, people with prediabetes who were physically active 30 minutes a day and reduced their body weight by 5-10 percent showed a 58-percent reduction in developing diabetes.

Why worry about diabetes?

• Diabetes is the seventh most common cause of death in the United States.

• Heart disease and stroke are two-to-four times more common in those with diabetes.

• Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults.

• Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease.

• More than half the amputations of the feet and legs are due to diabetes.

• Sixty to 70 percent of those with diabetes have some nerve damage.

Delaying and preventing Type 2 diabetes

Eat healthier: This is a great way to lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Start building a healthier plate by eating more vegetables, fruits, leaner meats, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Check out to help you focus on foods you need more of.

Be active: Physical activity can help lower your risk for prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It is never too late to be physically active. Find others who are trying to be active, join a group for exercise or support or find a walking buddy, and work together to reach your goals. Aim for 30 minutes on most days.

Quit smoking: If you do not smoke, plan to never start; and if you do smoke, challenge yourself to quit. Within a few years of quitting, your risk of stroke and coronary artery disease are similar to non-smokers.

Visit or contact the local Purdue Extension office at 653-8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready on arrival and to RSVP for programs.

While many publications are free, some do have a fee.

Upcoming events:

Nov. 14 – Knives and Garnishes 101, Area 30 Career Center, noon, $5

Nov. 16 – Indiana 4-H Leadership Summit, Carmel

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