The month of November is recognized as American Diabetes Month.
Diabetes causes more deaths in a single year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes. And sadly, seven million are undiagnosed.
Diabetes is a deadly and dangerous disease, but it doesn’t have to be. Throughout this month, the PMH Lifeline will be featuring information on diabetes.
Before a person develops type 2 diabetes (the most common form), he or she almost always has “pre-diabetes.” Many people have pre-diabetes without ever even knowing it. Pre-diabetes is characterized by higher than normal glucose levels in the blood, but still not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Three simple tests can be performed by your medical provider to determine whether you have pre-diabetes.
If you are overweight and age 45 or older, the staff at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital strongly urges you to be checked for pre-diabetes at your next medical exam. If your weight is normal and you are over age 45, you should ask your medical provider if you should have testing done. Those younger than 45 and overweight may need testing if certain other factors apply, such as high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, a family history of diabetes, a personal history of gestational diabetes, or if you have given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds.
With proper treatment, you can prevent pre-diabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, a combination of exercise, weight loss, and proper nutrition has been proven to be the single best prevention method. Early treatment can often return your blood glucose levels to normal. However, each person needs an individualized and unique plan of treatment. PMH is incredibly fortunate to have Terry Wagner on staff not only as the Chief Operating Officer, but also as a Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Nurse. Wagner is eager to help anyone in any stage of this disease to learn more about diabetes as well as treatment and management options. You may reach Wagner by calling the hospital at 304-799-7400, ext. 1032.