If Only the Economy Grew So Fast
The upward curve of the graph showing the CDC statistics for diabetes in the U.S. is so steep it looks like a slide at a water park.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention data show the percentage of Americans with diabetes growing from 1% to more than 9% in the past six decades. More than 20 million Americans have diabetes today and another 86 million more have elevated blood-sugar levels called pre-diabetes. Together that sounds like about a third of the people in the nation.
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., and it can attack everything from your legs to your kidneys to your eyesight. It makes people twice as likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack. It costs about a quarter of a trillion dollars a year in medical expenses and lost productivity. Thank goodness, no single national security risk is as deadly as diabetes.
Is Delusion Part of the Disease?
Since National Diabetes Month is about raising awareness, we might start by wondering how urgent this threat would be if it were not a disease. If more than a quarter of adults 65 and older – 11 million seniors – were hostage to some foreign power instead of a disease, we probably wouldn’t need a special month to be aware of it. If 3.4 million people around the world died every year from an armed conflict, we’d probably call it a world war.
Yet, because it’s a silent disease that often progresses for years before showing symptoms, we cruise along instead. About a quarter of Americans who have diabetes don’t even know.
How to Snap Out of It
Your family physician can test for diabetes or signs of prediabetes. There are three main kinds of test, but the one used most frequently, the FPG, measures fasting plasma glucose – the level of blood sugar after eight hours of fasting. It’s a blood test usually taken first thing in the morning, and a normal level is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (100 mg/dl). Prediabetes is considered a blood sugar level between 100 and 125 mg/dl, and diabetes is indicated by blood glucose of 126 mg/dl or higher.
Depending on your score, your family physician can point to steps you can take to reduce your score or lower your risk.
This Year’s Theme: Managing Diabetes
Prevention is vital, and behavior is a bigger influence than any other risk factor for diabetes, so avoiding obesity and living a life that includes proper diet and exercise can save lives.
Yet, because diabetes is so widespread, the theme chosen for the 2017 National Diabetes Month is Managing Diabetes – It’s Not Easy But It’s Worth It.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends four steps:
- Learn about diabetes
- Know your diabetes ABCs
- Learn how to live with diabetes
- Get routine care to stay healthy
Again, we see it. Step one is knowledge. To get tested and find out what you can do to reduce the risk of diabetes for you and your family, just call us at 843-815-6468.