Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes – including 370,000 people in Kentucky or 10 percent of our state’s residents. It is estimated that nearly one-third of the people with diabetes do not know they have the disease and an estimated 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes, which means they are at increased risk for developing the disease at some point in their life.
“Diabetes is a serious disease, particularly when it is left undiagnosed or untreated,” said Debbie Bell of the Franklin County Health Department.
“Everyone should be aware of their risk for diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes such as a mother, father, brother or sister with Type 2 diabetes or if you had diabetes during pregnancy; you need to know that you are at increased risk. Other risk factors for diabetes include being overweight, physically inactive and being over the age of 45. Diabetes also is more common in African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”
If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and even death. With early diagnosis and treatment, people with diabetes can delay or prevent the development of these health problems.
If you are at risk for diabetes, the good news is you can take action now to lower your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by making – and maintaining – healthy lifestyle changes. Studies have shown Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing a small amount of weight – 5 to 7 percent (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) – and becoming more active.
Action steps include making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes, five days per week. One way to help people achieve their health goal is to write down everything they eat and drink and the number of minutes they are active each day. They should review their notes daily. While change is difficult for many of us, if you abide by these steps the pay-off is significant.
FCHD in collaboration with the Franklin County Diabetes Coalition, continues to provide services and education opportunities for individuals with diabetes/at risk for diabetes and their families to improve diabetes outcomes and enhance management of this disease.
On March 23 the partnership will host the Ninth Annual Diabetes Prevention and Self-Management Expo from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Franklin County Public Health Center. The schedule of events will include sessions on diabetes meal planning, managing for high and low blood sugar, a complimentary diabetes-friendly lunch and diabetes supply vendor visits. The program is free to the public.
Registration is required and space is limited to the first 50 participants.
For more information and to view the expo’s scheduled events, visit www.fchd.org. To register for the program, email Debbie Bell at email@example.com or call 564-5559.
If you are unable to attend and want assistance in managing your diabetes, visit the website for future programs that include: monthly diabetes education classes, diabetes support services and diabetes self-management education classes.
Debbie Bell is a registered and licensed dietitian , a certified diabetes educator and a Health Educator III. The Franklin County Health Department is located at 851 East-West Connector.