Education and awareness on World Diabetes Day
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - About 38 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes, or about 1 in 10, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On World Diabetes Day, November 14, diabetes care educator Lori Pettet appeared on Heartland Afternoon to help people understand the importance of health.
She said about 500,000 people in the state of Missouri share the diagnosis.
“Actually, southeast Missouri is one of the most prevalent in the state for having diabetes,” continued.
There are several risk factors for Type II diabetes, which is the more common diagnosis.
- Ethnicity (greater risk for Black, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, and Native Americans have higher risk)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Age (greater risk for those over 40)
Risk factor awareness is very important, because waiting to treat can mean serious health consequences.
“A lot of people are not aware of their risk, and sometimes it’s not diagnosed until people have actually started to develop complications,” said Pettet. “The sooner it can be found, the sooner it can be treated and then complications can be prevented.”
Symptoms of high blood sugar to watch for include:
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained or unintended weight loss
- Dry, itchy skin
However, Pettet said not everyone experiences symptoms, especially if the rise in their blood sugar has been steady over a period of years, meaning the condition developed slowly.
“Some people have abnormal blood sugars for 3 to 5 years before they’re diagnosed with diabetes,” said Pettet. “Having a good conversation with your provider to ask about your risk and then being tested is really important.”
Diabetes is found in all ages, but an increasing concern in the healthcare field in recent years is that Type II diabetes is now being documented in more young people. Pettet said an easy way to prevent the complications associated with it is to maintain regular visits with your health care provider.
“Diabetes is something that can be managed, it is something that you can control, but if it’s left untreated there are really serious consequences to it,” said Pettet. “The sooner you know, the sooner you can help to take care of it.”
Some of the most common health complications that arise from untreated diabetes include:
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
Pettet said the most important tool in fighting the disease is knowledge.
“Once you have diabetes, it’s important to know, because lifestyle’s an important part of that,” he continued. “How you eat, exercise and activity, medications...Having good information on that can really help you to stay healthy.”
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