The importance of diabetes awareness
Each year the importance of diabetes education prevention grows in magnitude. It is estimated that 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, which is approximately 8.3 percent of the population. Of those numbers, about seven million are undiagnosed cases. In addition, experts estimate that there are approximately 79 million Americans suffering from pre-diabetes, meaning they have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Symptoms of high blood sugar can include fatigue, excess thirst or urination, or an unexplained weight loss. Risk factors for developing diabetes include the following:
- Poor dietary choices
- Lack of regular exercise
- Being overweight
- Having a family history of diabetes
Complications from diabetes are heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or blindness. While many people may underestimate the risks associated with pre-diabetes, recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes.
Fortunately, diabetes can be managed and, in the case of Type 2 diabetes, prevented, with proper diet and lifestyle modifications. If you do suffer from diabetes, it is important to give your feet extra care and attention. Diabetes can damage the nerve endings and blood vessels in your feet, making diabetics less likely to notice when their feet are injured. Diabetes can also interfere with the body’s ability to fight infection, so if you develop a minor foot injury, it could become an ulcer that develops into a serious infection.
Men and woman who may be at risk for diabetes may find it helpful to meet with their physician or schedule an appointment with a health care provider who specializes in diabetes education. Identifying risk factors and receiving an accurate diagnosis are important tools in leading to changes in diet and lifestyle that will positively impact overall health.