November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a great time to educate yourself and others about this sometimes silent disease. It is estimated that about 12% of the American population has diabetes, and the percentage increases to over 30% for senior citizens. Sadly, about one in four people who have diabetes aren’t aware of it. Hence, the importance of testing and education.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Without insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, the sugar remains in the blood and can subsequently cause serious damage to organ systems and eventually lead to heart disease. People afflicted with Type 1 diabetes, which is neither preventable nor curable, have to inject insulin into their body each day to regulate their blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes is more common, and is characterized by a high level of blood sugar (glucose), which comes mostly from the food a person eats. With Type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it properly. Too much glucose remains in the blood, potentially causing internal damage. Fortunately, this type of diabetes can be managed and even prevented.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, being physically inactive, and being genetically predisposed to it. If you think you may have Type 2 diabetes, a simple blood test can confirm it. Symptoms, such as increased hunger, thirst, and urination; fatigue and blurred vision; and unexplained weight loss can develop very slowly and be mild, making it more difficult to notice. Some people have no symptoms at all.
A healthy diet is critical for managing diabetes. Diabetic seniors may benefit from nutritional drinks that are part of an overall diabetes management plan.
To schedule diabetes testing, or for additional information, please contact Dr. Priyanka Gauravi, Endocrinologist or Teresa Stout, Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetic Educator at Morrison Community Hospital.
Morrison Community Hospital
303 North Jackson Street
Morrison, IL 61270