With over 34 million people in the United States diagnosed with diabetes and another 88 million at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, November is the month set aside to recognize the impact of this disease in our country. We bring the spotlight on prevention, management and advocating what is needed to improve the lives of those living with or at high risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood which can harm the body over time. The most common form of diabetes is type 2, a condition in which the body is still making a hormone called insulin, but the blood sugar is still high. Diagnosing this form of diabetes can start with a simple risk test. Check out www.doihaveprediabetes.org to see your score.

If your score is high on the risk test, talk to your provider about ordering a blood test to check to see if you have diabetes. A common test used to diagnose diabetes is called a Hemoglobin A1c. It can show results of your average blood glucose over the last 2-3 months. If it is 6.5 percent or more, a person is usually diagnosed with diabetes. If the result is between 5.7-6.4 percent, the provider may diagnose you with prediabetes. If your result is in the prediabetes range, there are things you can do to prevent type 2 diabetes. Studies showed modest weight loss (if needed) and including 150 minutes of physical activity per week, such as walking, led to a 58 percent reduction in developing type 2 diabetes.

Another form of diabetes, type 1, is a condition in which the cells that make insulin have been destroyed. A person with type 1 diabetes must administer insulin for their lifetime. Scientists believe genetics and the environment play a role in the development. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. However, there is technology, such as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems, and other modalities that can assist someone with the meal to meal, day to day tasks of living with the disease.

Feeling well and preventing chronic health problems from diabetes is the goal of care. Knowing what to eat, being active, monitoring your health, taking medications as prescribed, reducing risks, coping well, and developing problem solving skills lay the foundation to living a healthy life with diabetes.

For more information on preventing diabetes or learning the self-care behaviors to take care of diabetes, call 502-588-4499.

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Article by:

Beth Ackerman, R.D.

Beth Ackerman is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator at the UofL Physicians – Diabetes and Obesity Center. Beth is on the team of educators of the ADA-approved diabetes education team at UofL Physicians. She has counseled people with diabetes for more than 25 years. Ackerman serves as the Diabetes Prevention Program Workgroup co-chair for the Kentucky Diabetes Network and volunteers at Camp Hendon, a diabetes camp for children.

All posts by Beth Ackerman, R.D.
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