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November is National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes, a disease that affects one in ten Americans — that’s more than 30 million people. To add to that, approximately 84 million adults in the US are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The theme for 2019 National Diabetes Month focuses on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Having diabetes means you are more likely to develop heart disease and to have a greater chance of a heart attack or stroke. High blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.  Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease as people without diabetes. 

In addition to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, if left uncontrolled, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and many other health problems, making it one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. 

Are You at Risk?

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of the disease.  The following symptoms of diabetes are typical, however some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild they go unnoticed.  Common symptoms are:

  • Urinating often;
  • Feeling very thirsty;
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating;
  • Extreme fatigue;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal;
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1;)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in hands and/or feet (type 2.)

A simple blood test performed at your doctor’s office can determine your risk for, or already have, diabetes.  Before patients develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have a condition known as prediabetes – blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.  If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, it is recommended that you be tested for diabetes every year or two years.

Managing the Disease

The good news is that the steps you take to manage your diabetes also help to lower your chances of having heart disease or a stroke. To help prevent Type 2 diabetes and to keep your heart healthy, focus on a healthy diet, strive for a healthy weight, and get more physically active.

For individuals with diabetes, choosing nutritious foods, and watching portion sizes helps to control blood sugar levels. Follow these tips for a good starting place to managing your diabetes:

  • Manage your A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol levels – Ask your healthcare team what your goals should be;
  • Develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits – Follow your healthy eating plan and make physical activity part of your daily routine;
  • Learn ways to manage stress – Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, doing yoga or listening to your favorite music;
  • Stay on top of your medications – Always take medicines as prescribed by your doctor;
  • Stop smoking or using other tobacco products – You can start by calling

1-800-QUITNOW or visiting smokefree.gov.

If you have any diabetic health concerns, or questions about any healthcare issue, contact the primary care providers at CCHC by calling 252.633.4111 or visiting www.cchchealthcare.com.  You can also contact CCHC New Bern Internal Medicine Specialists at 252.633.5333 to schedule an appointment with Dr. David Herminghuysen.

Sources: www.tucson.com, www.niddk.nih.gov