More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes.
That means one out of every 11 Americans has the chronic disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. It includes people whose bodies do not make enough insulin (Type 1 Diabetics), those whose bodies do not use insulin properly (Type 2) and those who develop gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that occurs in some women during pregnancy, then goes away after childbirth.
Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than optimal but not high enough to reach the level for diabetes diagnosis. It is a serious health condition that increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Most of these people don’t even know they are at high risk of developing diabetes.
Why should you care? Because:
- Diabetes is one of the 10 top leading causes of death in the U.S.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult-onset blindness
- More than 20 percent of all healthcare spending is for people who are diagnosed with diabetes.
The majority of diabetics have Type 2 Diabetes – better than 90 percent of all diagnosed cases of the disease. It often is referred to as adult-onset diabetes, while Type 1 diabetes is referred to a juvenile diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and acts as a key to let glucose from the food we eat pass from the bloodstream into the cells in the body to produce energy. All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose in the blood, and insulin helps the glucose get into the cells.
Whether your body cannot produce insulin or cannot use it effectively, the glucose levels in the blood remain too high. And over the long term, high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.
Some of the risk factors for diabetes include:
- Older age
- Excessive weight, particularly around the waist
- Family history
- Certain ethnicities
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet
Sounds like bad news, right?
Well, there is good news, too. We know what works in prevention, in managing and in reducing the risk of complications from diabetes.
And there is even better news.
St. Bernards can help you learn to manage your diabetes. We have the community’s only American Diabetes Association recognized Diabetes Self-Management Education Program. And we have a team of professionals who can guide you through successful self-management of the disease.
As a matter of fact, St. Bernards Diabetes Self-Management Program recently received renewal of its ADA accreditation for another four years. That means our program, which has been in existence for more than two decades, is certified to meet national standards for diabetes self-management education. Our specially trained educators have helped thousands of area residents learn to adopt lifestyle changes that improve their health. And they are ready to help you as well.
In our program you will learn about the disease process, nutritional management, the role of physical activity, medications and much, much more. In addition, we have a free diabetes support group open to the interested public on the second Tuesday evening of every month.
For more information about the St. Bernards Diabetes Self-Management Program, contact Natalie Marotti at 870-207-7820.