White Paper: Diabetes

Diabetes: A Deadly Disease that Sits Under the Radar of Most Americans

MYTH: Diabetics crave sugar.

Diabetes is a disorder where the body has difficulty in controlling the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95% of all cases, typically develops later in life and is associated with weight gain (especially around the waist) and lack of exercise. However, because of the rash of obesity in children, type II diabetes is now confronted in children. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the number of Americans with diabetes has grown to about 24 million with people 60 and over accounting for 25% of the cases. Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nervous system disease, sexual dysfunction, periodontal disease and amputations. As stated by Dr. John Buse, the American Diabetes Association President for Medicine and Science, “It is a disease that does have the ability to eat you alive.” Despite its seriousness, a recent poll showed that the public knew little about this disease and the complications associated with it.

Symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, and frequent urination. However, some people have no symptoms. A simple blood test by your doctor can show if you have diabetes. Exercise and weight control can help you control your diabetes. Some helpful tips include, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in refined carbohydrates such as sweets and white bread. Limit your consumption of high sugary beverages such as sodas and fruit punches, and avoid high fat foods such as ice cream and butter. It is also very important to frequently monitor your blood glucose levels using a home glucose monitoring kit and take all prescribed medications. Realize that your diet and exercise regime are lifestyle changes that must be maintained in the long term to control your diabetes and avoid the deadly complications associated with it.

Recommended care:
Newly diagnosed diabetics should receive dietary and exercise counseling. If you have diabetes you should have a physical exam twice a year which includes blood glucose measurement using the glycosylated hemoglobin test, an eye exam, blood pressure measurement, foot exam, urinalysis, and lipid analysis.

For more information visit www.diabetes.org.