JEFFERSON, Iowa – It may surprise you to learn that nearly half of the adult U.S. population (49.3%) have diabetes or prediabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48.8% of those with prediabetes are 65 years or older. Incidences of diabetes and prediabetes continue to rise in our country, tripling between 1990 and 2010 with predictions that it will increase by more than 19 million by 2030.
“The most common diabetes is Type 2,” explained Laura Walker, RN, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) at Greene County Medical Center. “Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which insulin production is restricted by pancreas cells. Those with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but their bodies don’t process it correctly. Those with prediabetes are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when their blood glucose levels are above average, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.”
Although diabetes can be managed with medications, lifestyle changes or both, there are staggering numbers of undiagnosed individuals who do not even realize they are at risk. This can have detrimental long-term impacts on overall health and create complications including: cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, hearing impairment, skin and mouth problems, foot damage, nerve damage and ocular disease.
Those at highest risk for developing Type 2 diabetes are overweight, are not physically active three times or more per week, have had gestational diabetes, have prediabetes, have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, have an immediate family member that has developed Type 2 diabetes or are 45 years or older.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and everyone is encouraged to wear blue on November 14, World Diabetes Day. This is also a great time for people to learn their numbers and begin taking the necessary steps to reduce and/or manage their risks. This small first step can get you on a path to wellness and help decrease the overall growing numbers of those with diabetes and prediabetes in our country and around the world.
Greene County Medical Center provides educational services through the Diabetes Management program as well as two free and easy self-evaluation tools with a Type 2 diabetes risk test and a prediabetes assessment. Both assessments are available at bit.ly/472SSJd. If you qualify through this testing, you may be eligible to participate in the next Greene County Medical Center Diabetes Prevention Program beginning January 8, 2024. If you have questions, would like to register for the next program or would like more information on diabetes management, call 515-386-2488.