One of every 11 Americans suffers from diabetes, and more than a quarter of adults 65 and older suffer from the disease. It attacks everything from eyesight to kidneys. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have a stroke, or develop heart disease, and the onset of diabetes among children, at ever-younger ages, is particularly alarming.
In November, which is National Diabetes Month, we seek especially to bring the epidemic growth of this disease to light, because knowing is the beginning of prevention and treatment. Awareness and knowledge are not only sorely needed, but overdue, because the growth of the disease over the last six decades is so very steep. In the late 1950s, only 1% of Americans had diabetes. Now, the prevalence is approaching 10%. The rate of growth has doubled in the past 20 years alone.
Today, diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. Another way to look at the severity of this threat is that no single national security risk we face is as deadly as diabetes. To expand our scope around the world, 3.4 million people die every year from diabetes. Yet, because it’s a silent disease that often progresses for years before showing symptoms, about a quarter of Americans who have diabetes don’t even know.
Knowing Your Score
Your family physician can test for diabetes or signs of pre-diabetes, and, depending on your score, your family physician can point to steps you can take to lower your risk.
There are three main kinds of test. The test used most frequently measures fasting plasma glucose – (FPG) 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). Pre-diabetes 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.
Knowing your blood glucose level is the first, best thing you can do to protect yourself from this deadly, widespread disease.
Taking Action to Live
If you test high for blood sugar, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends four ways to defend yourself:
- Learn about diabetes
- Know your diabetes ABCs
- Learn how to live with diabetes
- Get routine care to stay healthy
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.