Posted by: RJ the Fire Dog Blogger | November 18, 2014

November is National Diabetes Month

Paper bag with the word diabetes filled with healthy foodsDiabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar (glucose). Vital to health because it is an important source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and tissues, glucose is the brain’s main source of fuel. I wonder if bacon has glucose? I am sure I could run on it. People who have diabetes suffer not only from the ill effects of the disease itself but are also at risk for many other serious associated conditions. To educate the general public about the disease and help increase fundraising efforts for prevention and treatment, the United States observes National Diabetes Month every November. On an unrelated note, I have heard that International Bacon Day is Sept. 5.

Although specific causes differ, any patient whose system has chronically elevated levels of glucose has some form of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetic conditions include:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: usually diagnosed in children and young adults, this was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only five percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, which is the hormone which converts sugar, starches and other food into energy. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage this condition and live long, healthy lives.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, this is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes glucose. With type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin or fails to produce adequate insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Although type 2 diabetes is more common in adults than in kids, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity rates increase. Although there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, the condition can be managed by diet, exercise and healthy body weight. In some cases, diet and exercise are insufficient to manage blood sugar levels, so treatment includes medications or insulin therapy.
  • Gestational Diabetes : occurs during pregnancy but often resolves after the baby is delivered. According to the Mayo Clinic, gestational diabetes affects how a pregnant woman’s cells use glucose. One of the main concerns about gestational diabetes is that high blood sugar can negatively impact the health of both mother and child. The good news is that most expectant mothers can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. In gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. Unfortunately, women who have had gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Pre-Diabetes: a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to classify as full-blown diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 of every 3 U.S. Americcan adults have prediabetes. That is 79 million Americans, aged 20 years or older. The vast majority of people who are living with prediabetes do not know they have it. This is unfortunate, since (without lifestyle changes to improve health), 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

canine diabetes

According to the CDC, 29.1 million people (9.3% of the U. S. population) have diabetes. What’s more, the CDC reports there are approximately 8.1 million people who have the disease but remain undiagnosed. Because that figure represents 27.8% of the affected group, education and intervention are critical.

Asses your risk:

  • Are you age 45 or older?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Does one or both of your parents have diabetes?
  • Has one or more of your siblings been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Is your family background African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific-Islander?
  • Did you have gestational diabetes or did you give birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more?
  • Are you physically active less than three times a week?
  • Is your diet made up of candy, cookies and cake? (That isn’t part of the official checklist. But it seems like a reasonable assessment question to me.)

Take action

Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people who are prediabetic.

  • Modest weight loss means 5% to 7% of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.
  • Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important.
  • A free lifestyle change program is available through the National Diabetes Prevention Program, Led by the CDC, the plan can help participants adopt healthy habits needed to prevent type 2 diabetes.
  • Lay off the sweets. (Again, not an official bullet point on the CDC’s list. But it couldn’t hurt.)

We hope that this blog post will help inform you about ways to #BESAFE by paying attention to your blood sugar levels and taking necessary steps to improve your health and safety. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to helping improve and save lives. Visit our website for ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

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