Finding out that you have diabetes can be very scary. But don’t panic! People with diabetes can live long, healthy, happy lives. You can too by taking good care of yourself. Take a team approach to managing diabetes. Learn more about the programs offered through your physician and the professionals at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Our Diabetes Education Program has been awarded the prestigious American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Certificate for a quality diabetes self-management education program. Together, we can improve the quality of your life.
SOMC offers individual one on one classes as well as group classes for participants with diabetes. Physician referral for participation is required. For questions or more information regarding the Diabetes Education Program at SOMC, please call 740-356-8070.
These classes cover topics such as:
- Learning to live with diabetes
- Planning meals
- Blood sugar monitoring
- Lifestyle changes
- Stress management
Our goal is to help you manage your diabetes to the best of your ability so that you can prevent long-term diabetes complications. Participants who attend the program will be taught self-care skills that will promote better management of his or her diabetes treatment regimen.
Could you have diabetes and not know it?
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 37.3 million people or 11.3% of the population in the United States who have diabetes. While an estimated 28.7 million people have been diagnosed, unfortunately, 8.5 million people are not aware that they have this disease. Annually there are 1.4 million new diagnoses.
Anyone can develop diabetes. It can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. But there are some common risk factors for diabetes. These include:
- Being over age 45
- Being overweight
- Family history of diabetes
- Are physically active fewer than 3 times per week
- Being African-American, Native American, Latino, Asian-American, Asian, Indian, or Pacific Islander
What is diabetes?
Simply put, diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or does not properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. (To learn much more about diabetes, visit the web site of the American Diabetes Association.) The cause of diabetes is a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. There are two major types of diabetes.
- Type 1 is an auto-immune disease in which the body does not produce any insulin, most often occurring in children and young adults. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5-10 percent of diabetes.
- Type 2 is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body’s inability to make enough, or to properly use insulin. It is the most common form of the disease. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is nearing epidemic proportions, due to an increased number of older Americans, and a greater prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
- In addition, gestational diabetes develops in 2 to 5 percent of all pregnancies but almost always disappears when the pregnancy is over. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Other specific types of diabetes result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Diabetes and its symptoms can affect people differently. For example, some people may develop symptoms of diabetes and identify them very quickly. However, other people with diabetes may have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed. The following symptoms of diabetes are the most commonly reported:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. Discuss any symptoms of diabetes that you may be experiencing with your health care provider.
Does diabetes increase your risk for serious problems
The answer is yes – having diabetes can increase your risk for many serious health problems. The good news is that with the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of complications.
Over time, high blood sugar caused by uncontrolled diabetes can damage your blood vessels, both large and small. This damage can lead to complications that can affect your entire body. Complications include:
- Heart attack
- Kidney disease (nephropathy)
- Vision problems and blindness (retinopathy)
- Nerve disease (neuropathy)
- Risk of lower-limb loss (amputation)
By controlling your blood sugar as well as blood pressure and cholesterol according to your treatment plan, you can help reduce your risk of complications.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition when your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It is considered to be an at-risk state, with high chances of developing diabetes. Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but can be prevented or delayed if certain steps are taken.
Eating a healthy diet, losing some weight and getting regular physical activity help reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Small changes can make a big difference in your health. For additional information regarding prediabetes, please talk with your health care provider.