November is National Diabetes Month. Currently, more than 29 million Americans, or 9% of the U.S. population, have diabetes with another 86 million Americans with prediabetes. It is projected that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050. Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to properly use and store glucose (or blood sugar) and it backs up in the bloodstream causing one’s blood sugar to rise which over time can lead to complications.
Diabetes causes 50% of all cases of kidney failure, more than half of all amputations in adults, and more than half a million American adults with diabetes have advanced diabetic retinopathy which can cause severe vision loss. About 60-70% of people with diabetes also have mild to severe forms of nerve damage and diabetes doubles the risk for heart disease or stroke.
Wondering if you or someone you know is at risk for developing prediabetes or diabetes? Here are some of the risk factors for developing diabetes:
• 45 years of age or older
• Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
• Being overweight or obese (BMI >25)
• African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander decent
• For women, having had gestational diabetes or a baby greater than 9 pounds or a history of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
• Hypertension or high blood pressure
• Elevated LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol or triglycerides and low HDL (“healthy”) cholesterol
• Being physically inactive or not getting enough exercise
Take this one minute quiz from the American Diabetes Association to determine your risk of developing diabetes: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/.
The good news is that people with diabetes can lower their risk of complications by knowing and having their ABC’S within goal range and most insurances will cover for diabetes supplies and diabetes education with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or a Certified Diabetes Educator.
• A is for A1C test. This is a blood test that measures average blood sugar levels over the past three months
• B is for Blood pressure
• C is for Cholesterol
• S is for stopping smoking