During National Diabetes Awareness Month in November, the Livingston County Department of Health is encouraging residents to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 12.5% of New York adults have diabetes with an estimated price tag of $12 billion in total medical costs annually. In Livingston County 12.2% of residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the Counties 2017 Health Profile.
Type 2 diabetes affects about 95% of the diabetic population.
Diabetes is a result of either not enough insulin produced by the beta cells in the body or the body’s cells have become resistant to the insulin and do not use the insulin efficiently or both.
Diabetes increases the risk for some significant health problems, including heart disease, amputations, stroke, kidney damage, blindness, gum disease, nerve damage, and possibly dementia.
Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in three Americans, an estimated 88 million people, have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010.
Pre-diabetes can progress to diabetes, but this progression may be avoidable.
Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it, but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.
“The Livingston County Department of Health works with community partners to provide education on risk factors and to encourage screening regarding diabetes to improve the health of our residents,” said Public Health Director Jennifer Rodriquez.
Lifestyle choices and family history help determine the risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight, and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.
Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:
n Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
n Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
n Aim for whole grains with every meal.
n Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
n Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors and screening, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.
The CDC estimates that only 40.6% of those with diabetes ever take advantage of the education which would help them self-manage the condition. Yet, insurance companies know that participants with diabetes education have medical costs 2.3 times lower than the person who has not taken a diabetes course.
UR Medicine | Noyes Health offers a diabetes education program in Dansville, Hornell and Geneseo and in two area physician offices. The program is recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and staffed with an Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and an RN Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. For information on the program, call (585) 335-4355.
The American Diabetes Association also offers a Risk Assessment survey that may be taken to learn if you are at risk and discuss the results with your health care provider.
For more information on diabetes, call (585) 243-7290 or visit the Livingston County Department of Health’s website at www.livingstoncounty.us/doh.htm.