Celebrate National Diabetes Month

Submitted by Nicole Wolf, Associate Executive Director, Erie County Diabetes Association

Every 10 seconds, one person dies from diabetes.
In the same 10 seconds, two people learn they have diabetes.
We don’t like these numbers. It’s time to Act on Diabetes-NOW.

Every year, one day in particular is set aside for everyone in the world to take some form of action against diabetes. For years, the Erie County Diabetes Association has used this month as an opportunity to raise awareness in our community about the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of diabetes prevention and management. On November 14, we are asking every person in the Erie community, regardless of whether you have diabetes or not, to Act on Diabetes- NOW.

Act on Diabetes-Now Theme
With nearly 20,000 children and adults in Erie County diagnosed with diabetes, and thousands more at risk, there is no time to waste. If current trends continue, one in every three children born today will face a future with diabetes. Young, old, male, female, black, white- diabetes and its deadly complications do not discriminate. Act on Diabetes-Now.

The Diabetes Health Toll

  • The death rate from diabetes continues to climb. Since 1987, the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45%, while the death rates due to cancer, heart disease, and stroke have declined.
  • The amputation rate for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.=
  • 2 out of 3 people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are too high. The disease grouped into two major categories- type 1 and type 2.

Type 1

  • Formerly known as juvenile diabetes
  • Accounts for 5-10% of all cases of diabetes
  • Cannot be prevented at the present time
  • Pancreas fails to make insulin
  • Individuals are dependent on injectable insulin for life

Type 2

  • Formerly known as adult onset
  • Accounts for 90-95% of all cases of diabetes
  • In most cases is preventable with lifestyle changes
  • Develops slowly over 7-10 years usually as a result of the body not using insulin effectively

Who is at Risk?

  • The following are the leading risk factors type 2 diabetes:
  • Obesity and overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Previously identified glucose intolerance
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Increased age
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • A family history of diabetes
  • A history of gestational diabetes
  • Ethnic populations- Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans

Know the Warning Signs. (*These Warning Signs may be very mild or absent in people type 2 diabetes)

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of interest and concentration
  • Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing wounds

Take Action-NOW.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t just “blame them away.” Call your doctor today and schedule an appointment to get tested.

Diabetes Prevention

The following are a few ways that you and your family can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

  • 30 minutes of daily exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling
  • If you use tobacco products, STOP
  • Adopt a healthy meal plan based on portion control and balanced food groups
  • If you are overweight, set a long-term goal of losing 5-7% of your total body weight

Take Action-Now. Diabetes does not discriminate, so everyone should take steps to prevent the disease.

Diabetes Management

If you have diabetes, there are many things you can do to help reduce your risk for complications. The AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors serves as an easy-to-follow recipe for managing diabetes.

AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™

  • Healthy eating
  • Being active
  • Monitoring blood sugar
  • Taking medications as prescribed
  • Solving problems that come up
  • Reducing your risk for complications
  • Coping with diabetes

Take Action-NOW. Establish a diabetes self-management goal plan. Pick one behavior to work on over a set period of time. When you’ve met that goal, move on to the next. Remember- small, gradual changes get results. For more information on these self-care behaviors, visit the www.diabeteserie.org.

If you have questions or would like more information about diabetes prevention or management, please call ECDA nurse educator, Justine Culmer, RN at 454-0715.

How will you Act on Diabetes-NOW? The future is in your hands.