November is National Diabetes Month.
If you have diabetes, you are not alone. Over 38 million people in the U.S. have the illness, around 11 percent of the population.
Diabetes affects how the body uses blood sugar.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 usually develops during early childhood.
Type 2 typically develops after the age of 40.
The vast majority of people with the illness have Type 2 diabetes.
Freeman Health System Diabetes Certified Education and Care Specialist Laura Mills, R.N., says if you’re told you have diabetes, the one thing you don’t want to do is “just ignore it.”
“The bad news about uncontrolled diabetes is that it is the number one of blindness in adults; the number one cause of kidney failure; the number one cause of amputations resorting from sores that won’t heal,” Mills says.
“The statistics on heart attacks and strokes is that two out of three with [uncontrolled] diabetes will have those.”
She says the good part is that diabetes can be controlled with medical intervention and by making changes in diet, getting more exercise and losing weight.
For some one of several medications can help control the illness.
Mills says the best way to determine whether you have diabetes is to see your physician and to have a fasting blood sugar test which he/she will then evaluate.
With proper treatment and lifestyle changes, most can go on to live productive lives.