November is not only the month to start our holiday eating it is also, coincidently, American Diabetes Month!
Diabetes is defined as a group of diseases in which the body’s pancreas does not produce enough
insulin, or the insulin produced is not used properly by the body. When insulin is not available, the body
cannot get sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells, which we need for energy. When sugar levels
become high in the bloodstream, the diagnosis of diabetes is made.
When diabetes is left untreated it may cause damage to blood vessels of the heart, kidneys, and eyes.
Diabetes is among the leading causes of heart disease and stroke, kidney failure, and blindness. Left
untreated, diabetes can also cause damage to nerve endings, resulting in chronic pain of the feet and
lower legs. In 2019 diabetes was the direct cause of death for 1.5 million Americans.
According to the Center for Disease Control over 100 million Americans have some type of diabetes.
Persons may be diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is when the blood sugars are high
but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. Type 1 is caused by the body’s immune system attacking
and destroying the pancreas this form of diabetes is less common. Type 2 diabetes is caused by being
overweight, lack of physical activity, and at times family genetics.
Weight loss, exercise, and a diet low in carbohydrates are the cornerstone of treatment for all types of
diabetes! Controlling blood sugars to prevent complications of diabetes can be accomplished by adding
medications to a healthy lifestyle. Also important are regular appointments with your healthcare
provider to create a plan of care individualized for your specific needs.
By: Beth Fields, FNP