November is National Diabetes Month and today is World Diabetes Day.
More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes with 1 out of 4 of them being unaware that they have it.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 – Your body can’t make insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar), so you need to take it every day. Only about 5% of people with diabetes have this kind.
- Type 2 – About 9 out of 10 people with diabetes have this kind. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels
- Gestational diabetes – Happens only during pregnancy but can put you at a risk for Type 2 later in life.
In Louisiana alone, approximately 521,294 people or 13.9% of the adult population, have diabetes.
Of these, an estimated 124,000 have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk.
In addition, 1,272,000 people or 37.5% of the adult population, have prediabetes (blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes).
Every year an estimated 35,000 people in Louisiana are diagnosed with diabetes.
If you have any of the risk factors, you should be tested. The sooner you find out the sooner you can start making healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit you in the future.
Risk factors include:
- Being overweight.
- Being 45 years or older.
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week.
- Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
In addition, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes
People with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for serious health complications including:
- Heart disease and stroke
- Blindness and vision problems
- Kidney disease
Controlling your blood sugar levels can prevent or delay serious complications so its vital to get tested for diabetes if you have any of the risk factors so that you can begin treatment.
Testing for Diabetes
We offer several tests that can help diagnose diabetes including:
Managing your Diabetes
Its important to get the following tests throughout the year to monitor your treatment plan and to prevent complications:
Hemoglobin A1C test which measures average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months should be done twice a year.
You should also have regular checkups to monitor blood pressure and check feet.
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