November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Awareness Month

diabetes

November is national diabetes month. The Nursing Division of the Livingston Health department would like to share the following educational information with its residents.

Many of us may have heard about someone, or even yourself, being diagnosed or living with diabetes.  Most understand that diabetes is a type of medical condition, but do you know who it’s affecting, what diabetes is, and what it actually means for you or your loved ones?  Diabetes is a serious disease.  Having and not properly controlling diabetes can lead to blindness, heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and amputations.   According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2012 report 29.1 million Americans had diabetes and 8.1 million of them were undiagnosed.  The ADA also states that the percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.9%.  Although diabetes is affecting a large population of seniors, they are not the only population at risk.

Diabetes is a health condition that can be diagnosed at any age.  As of 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had pre-diabetes!  This is not a good thing.  The ADA reports as of 2010, diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.  As a population we need to try to better understand and manage this disease.  Diabetes is a metabolic disease that influences the body’s ability to produce insulin.  Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels.  If there is not enough insulin in the body an imbalance can occur, which is not healthy and can be very dangerous.

Preventative-care practices for controlling diabetes are extremely important!  You or your loved one should have annual medical eye exams, foot examinations, and consistently self-monitor blood sugars levels.  By diabetics proactively controlling blood sugars and actively seeking medical services, this can reduce both the incidence and progression of diabetic-specific complications. It is very important for those with the disease to be seen and under the consistent care of a physician.  Diabetics should receive pneumococcal and annual flu vaccinations because they are more likely than persons without diabetes to experience the complications of influenza and pneumonia.

Some people with diabetes have symptoms.  If you have any of the following symptoms, extreme thirst, blurry vision from time to time, frequent urination, unusual tiredness or drowsiness, unexplained weight loss, please call your Doctor.  Pregnant women should be tested for diabetes between the fifth and sixth month of pregnancy. The disease is more common in African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. If you are a member of any of these ethnic groups, you must pay close attention to early detection. For more information on diabetes call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-342-2383.  For further educational information see: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/#sthash.1WQoL3u8.dpuf or contact Livingston Nursing Department (973)-535-7961  X228.