Tuesday, November 1, 2011

American Diabetes Month - Overview

Diabetes Overview

By Akindman,

November is American Diabetes Month along with Diabetic Eye Disease Month, Foot Health Issues Related to Diabetes Month and Diabetes Education Week each will be covered throughout November.  We will also share one additional related article on ‘Diabetes Diet’. 

This is a very dangerous disease that continues to increase in new cases each year.  These new cases will not only increase the bad health and mortality rate of the victims, but also increases the cost of medical care and expenses.  Our goal this month is to inform you about the disease, how to avoid it when possible, and how to control it if you have it.

What is diabetes?

  • Diabetes, the most common disorder of the endocrine (hormone) system, occurs when blood sugar levels in the body consistently stay above normal. It affects more than 23 million people in the U.S. alone.
  • Diabetes is a disease brought on by either the body's inability to make insulin (type 1 diabetes) or by the body not responding to the effects of insulin (type 2 diabetes). It can also appear during pregnancy. Insulin is one of the main hormones that regulates blood sugar levels and allows the body to use sugar (called glucose) for energy. Talk with your doctor about the different types of diabetes and your risk for this disease.

What are the main types of diabetes?

  • Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes accounting for 90%-95% of people with diabetes. It’s been seen more in children with diabetes too. How can too much insulin (insulin resistant) result in this disease?
  • Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and affects about 4% of all pregnancies. It increases complications for mother and baby.

  • Learn the Importance of Diabetes Foot Care - Uncontrolled diabetes may damage nerves, making it harder to notice foot problems due to diabetes that can eventually require amputation.
  • Infections and Diabetes - Diabetes may make the body more vulnerable to skin infections and other illnesses.
  • Insulin Resistance - Find out about insulin resistance and its dangerous ties to heart disease.
  • Skin Problems and Diabetes - Up to a third of diabetes patients have diabetes-related skin problems at some point in their lives.
  • Eye ProblemsBlindness, Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Blood Sugar Disorders - Hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia and ketoacidosis
  • Diabetes and Heart Disease - Learn about the link between diabetes and heart disease and helps you determine your risk.

What is the impact of diabetes?
  • It affects 23.6 million people-7.8 percent of the U.S. population.
  • It is a leading cause of death and disability.
  • It costs $174 billion per year.

Who gets diabetes? People of any age people with a family history of diabetes; others at high risk for type 2 diabetes: elderly, overweight and sedentary individuals, African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, some Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos.

The Toll on Health
  • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • About 60-70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.

Cost of Diabetes
  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $174 billion.
  • Direct medical costs reach $116 billion, and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than those without the disease.
  • Indirect costs amount to $58 billion (disability, work loss, premature mortality).
  • Further published studies suggest that when additional costs for gestational diabetes, pre-diabetes, and undiagnosed diabetes are included, the total diabetes-related costs in the U.S. could exceed $218 billion.
  • The cost of caring for someone with diabetes is $1 out of every $5 in total healthcare costs (from American Diabetes Association - www.diabetes.org)

The National Health Information Center offers a very informative ‘Toolkit’ that you can download at http://www.healthfinder.gov/nho/PDFs/NovemberNHOtoolkit.pdf

Despite encouraging data that type II diabetes may be a largely preventable disease, the twenty-first century is seeing it in epidemic levels in the United States and worldwide.  As reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), from 1980 through 2007, the number of Americans with type II diabetes has more than tripled (from 5.6 million to 18 million) and continues to rise to now nearly 26 million.  Projections from the new 2010 census data by the CDC are even more grim with an expected 25% of the population being diabetic by 2040). Worldwide Type II diabetes is reaching pandemic proportions, with no sign of abating.


The best documented strategy to avoid diabetes or to improve its course is to maintain a healthy body weight and to exercise.  This common knowledge continues to be backed by medical research.  Excellent evidence that even modest weight loss and exercise reduces the risk of type II diabetes is provided by many studies.

The current recommendation of the American Diabetes Association is for diabetics to engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate to brisk physical activity. The exercise should be spread out over at least three days a week, with no breaks of longer than two days.

The known modifiable risk factors for type II diabetes are excessive body weight and sedentary lifestyle. Increasing age and a history of relatives having the disease also increase the likelihood of its development.  There is no drug or dietary supplement that has been shown to prevent diabetes.

(Natural Health Research Institute - http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=5550) Published March 1, 2011 and posted on May 4, 2011)

Next Article – Diabetes Education Week

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