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Diabetes Awareness Month

November 7, 2012

November is American Diabetes Month. According to Licking County Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel, “This is a time to pay special attention to a serious disease that leads to potentially life-threatening complications such as heart disease, blindness, stroke, kidney disease, and amputation.” Current statistics show 1 out of every 3 children born today may face diabetes in their lifetime. Today, 26 million children and adults, just in the United States, live with diabetes. Another 79 million Americans are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form. In type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells simply ignore the insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugars and starches and other food we eat, into glucose, which gives us energy. Without enough insulin, the body cannot take glucose from blood into the cells. Glucose then builds up in the blood, causing complications.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and in young adults. Only 5 -10% of people diagnosed with diabetes have this type. With this form of diabetes the body does not produce enough insulin. Without enough insulin in the body, food cannot be converted into energy. Glucose remains in the blood at higher levels than it should, again causing complications.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and other unknown factors. Exposure to viruses may also be a contributing factor. On the other hand, excess weight and inactivity do increase one’s risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. A diet high in calories, from carbohydrates or fats, will contribute to weight gain. All people, including those with diabetes need to pay close attention to the type and amount of calories they consume. A regular exercise routine should also be a part of everyone’s life.

For more information, please visit the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org or visit www.cdc.gov.

Contact Info: Mary Beth Hagstad mhagstad@lickingcohealth.org (740) 349-6685

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