Why Do We Need American Diabetes Month?

November 7, 2022

diabetes worksheets, test for diabetes and tips on how to prevent and manage them by AFC Urgent Care Springfield

November is American Diabetes Month. Why do we need a month to acknowledge it? 

Because the disease is one of the most prevalent in the U.S. and the numbers of people with Type 1, Type 2 and Pre-Diabetic are staggeringly high and climbing each year. 

 

Did you know: 

  • Prevalence: In 2019, 37.3 million Americans, or 11.3% of the population, had diabetes.
  • Nearly 1.9 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, including about 244,000 children and adolescents
  • Diagnosed and undiagnosed: Of the 37.3 million adults with diabetes, 28.7 million were diagnosed, and 8.5 million were undiagnosed.
  • Prevalence in seniors: The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 29.2%, or 15.9 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).
  • New cases: 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
  • Prediabetes: In 2019, 96 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes.

Do you know your blood sugar levels? 

 

As the holidays approach, it’s important to monitor these levels as some of us will be stuffing our faces with sweets, and foods that can cause sudden spikes in our blood sugar levels. If you’re reading this and are worried about diabetes, or about someone you love who has diabetes, then this one's for you!

 

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may be feeling worried or even anxious about it. However, there is no need to panic! It is important to learn everything you can to manage your condition and live a full, healthy life. 

 

AFC Urgent Care Springfield has created a helpful guide with useful facts you probably aren’t aware of, and  and tips on how to manage your health, particularly if you are pre-diabetic:

 

What is diabetes?

In order to better understand diabetes, let’s take a step back and take a look at the body’s normal blood sugar levels. The pancreas is a small gland that produces insulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. 

 

The normal blood sugar level for a person without diabetes is between 4 and 6 mmol/L. When you eat, your blood sugar level rises to help your body break down the carbohydrates in your food. Normal blood sugar levels are usually between 5 and 10 mmol/L 2 hours after eating. The level is then brought back down to normal again after a few hours.

 

People with diabetes tend to have higher than normal blood sugars. This means that their bodies can’t properly break down sugars from carbohydrates as energy. Instead, the sugars are stored in the body as fat and/or are released into the bloodstream as ketones from the breakdown of fats. 

 

Types of Diabetes To Look Out For

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Let’s take a look at each one. 

 

Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body mistakenly attacks and destroys its own cells, including the cells that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually appears in childhood or adolescence. 

 

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease. This means that it is caused by the way you live. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but your body does not respond to it correctly. As such, you need to take medications to help your body lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin production.

 

Pre-diabetes – Know the warning signs!

Pre-diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are above normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This means that you’re at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle to prevent this from happening. 

 

Pre-diabetes signs and symptoms include:

  • feeling tired
  • needing to urinate frequently
  • having dark urine or dry skin

 

You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by making some lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking.

 

Managing Type 1 Diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes and have recently been diagnosed, you may feel overwhelmed. 

 

Here are some tips for managing type 1 diabetes:

 

  • Educate yourself - Read as much as you can about your condition and learn how to manage it properly.
  • Manage your stress - Stress can affect your blood sugar levels and make managing your diabetes more difficult.
  • Keep a food diary - This will help you to understand what affects your blood sugar levels the most and make changes where needed.
  • Stay healthy - Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. 
  • Stay on top of your appointments - Regular doctor appointments are crucial to managing type 1 diabetes. 
  • Take care of your teeth - Good oral health is important for managing type 1 diabetes.
  • Stay connected with your diabetes community - This will help you to feel less alone and connect with other people who understand what you’re going through.

 

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle to manage it properly. 

 

Here are some tips for managing type 2 diabetes

 

  • Eat a healthy diet - Choose low-carbohydrate and high-protein foods that include plenty of vegetables and fiber and healthy fats (like nuts and avocado). 
  • Avoid sugary and fatty foods. 
  • Weight loss - If you’re overweight, losing weight is key to managing type 2 diabetes. Research shows that losing 5-7% of your body weight can reduce blood sugar levels by up to 25%. 
  • Exercise regularly - Aim to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Exercising regularly will improve your overall health and help to reduce your blood sugar levels.

 

If You Don’t Remember The Last Time You Got Your Blood Sugar Levels Checked, Then It’s Time To Come In!

Diabetes is a manageable condition that you can live with for a long time, if managed properly. That being said, if you don’t manage it properly, it can lead to serious health issues and even death. The key is to stay on top of it and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep it at bay. The more you know about your condition, the easier this will be.

 

If you’re worried about your blood sugar levels checked, or you want to get in the habit of checking them more often, you can visit AFC Urgent Care in Springfield to get routine blood work any day of the week.

 

Our doors are open 7 days a week and we also offer appointments to fit your schedule. Get your blood sugar levels checked as the Thanksgiving and winter holidays approaches.

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