Doctor hands holding blue ribbon, diabetes and Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Dealing With Diabetes

Because diabetes can affect a number of major organs within the body, it’s important to understand what the chronic disease is and what can be done to prevent it.

Diabetes – the seventh-leading cause of death in America – is a disease affecting how the body turns food into energy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 100 million in the U.S. either have type 2 diabetes (a gradually developing condition usually seen in adults over 45 years of age) or prediabetes. Ninety percent of the 84 million Americans with prediabetes – which occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated, but not high enough to be considered diabetes – are unaware they are at risk of developing diabetes.

Superior Med in Cambridge, Ohio reminds you that if left untreated, diabetes can wreak havoc on different parts of the body, potentially causing a host of medical problems including:

  • Renal (kidney) disease
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels which can cause atherosclerosis
  • Nerve damage and numbness; can potentially lead to amputation
  • Damage to vision

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

You’re at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are overweight/obese
  • Are at least 45 years old
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Exercise less than three times a week
  • Are Hispanic/Latino American, African American, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • Have abnormal cholesterol levels
  • Have high blood pressure (hypertension)

Living Healthier With Diabetes

If you do have diabetes, you can take steps to live better with the disease, such as:

  • Make better choices: Manage weight with proper nutrition and sufficient exercise (at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of the two with strength-building exercises)
  • Listen to the experts: Because diabetes can affect different systems of the body, you may depend on medical personnel in various specialties
  • Know your numbers: Keep a close eye on your blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight through home monitoring and checkups with your health team

The Diabetes Education Program at Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center offers free help to those needing assistance managing diabetes. The classes include a private session and three group classes, covering different aspects of diabetes treatment and lifestyle modifications to better manage the disease. For more information or to register, call 740.435.2946.

Separately, a diabetes support group meets there on the first Monday of each month. No registration is required. Call 740.435.2888 for more information.