You’ve probably heard about diabetes from your doctor, in the news or from someone you know. But do you know just how prevalent this disease is in our country?
Although many people with diabetes live productive and happy lives, it’s important to understand how this disease affects our community. And during American Diabetes Month, we invite you to learn more about diabetes and how to prevent and manage this disease.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and another 86 million people (1 in 3 adults) have prediabetes. Here are some important numbers to know about diabetes:
- 1 out of 4 people don’t know they have diabetes, and 9 out of 10 people don’t know they have prediabetes
- 12 out of 100 people in Charles County have diabetes
- Every year, diabetes causes $245 billion dollars in medical bills and lost wages
- People with diabetes are at higher risk for blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke or loss of toes, feet or legs, as well as chronic wounds that often require treatment
The Difference Between Types of Diabetes
Not all forms of diabetes are the same. Here’s a brief overview of the differences between type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
- Type 1: Previously known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin to control blood sugar levels. Although it can strike at any age, it often appears before the age of 18. There is currently no known way to prevent this type of diabetes.
- Type 2: 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This type occurs when your body is able to produce insulin, but doesn’t produce enough to properly control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes has been linked to obesity which means a balanced diet and physical activity can contribute to prevention and management.
- Gestational Diabetes: Though relatively uncommon, this type of diabetes is brought on by pregnancy. Being overweight prior to becoming pregnant can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
The Risk Factors
Being overweight, inactive and having a family history of the disease can contribute to a higher risk of developing diabetes during your lifetime. Your doctor can help you determine your individual risk factors, but you can also take our type 2 diabetes risk assessment to learn more about your level of risk now.
The Good News
Although there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are things you can do right now to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Losing weight, eating healthy and being more active can greatly reduce your risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes in your lifetime. In addition, knowing the symptoms of diabetes can help with early detection, which may reduce the risk of further complications.
We know that a diabetes diagnosis comes with many questions, and we’re here to help you find the answers. Our new Center for Diabetes Education is here to help you live a healthier, more fulfilling life with diabetes. To learn more about the services we offer, visit our website or call (301) 609-4413.