featured

Will you let Diabetes Control your Life?

by Shannon Keeney

I have watched my dad and my grandmother go through the many difficulties of living with
type 2 diabetes. It has severely impacted his and her own lives as well as the rest of my
immediate family’s lives. I watched my grandmother struggle with her health and well-being my
whole life and I have begun to see that same struggle in my father due to the same disease. It is a
frustrating disease to watch take control of a person’s life because it is one that can be managed,
is preventable, and does not have to end in the extremes that I have experienced, such as loss of
limb and life. I want to bring attention to the many ways people can catch type 2 diabetes before
it becomes a detriment to their lives as well as their families’ lives. Individuals with prediabetes,
or those who may be genetically predisposed to becoming diabetic, need to be educated about
how to take control of their lifestyles so that they may avoid the consequences they will face if
they choose to do nothing.

Diabetes is a very common and widespread disease that affects over 37 million Americans
who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, with approximately 95% of those cases being type 2
diabetes in adults aged over 40 years old (3). Also, prediabetes, which is having higher than
normal levels of blood sugar, is very prevalent in the U.S. with 1 in 3 adults living with it,
sometimes unaware of the risk they are of developing type 2 diabetes (2). Concerningly, more
and more people are beginning to be diagnosed with the disease at younger ages, with just under
300,000 Americans were diagnosed under the age of 20 (3). Type 1 diabetes symptoms often come on
suddenly and at a young age. These symptoms can consist of frequent urination, unexplained
weight loss, extreme thirst, and recurrent infections (2). However, type 2 diabetes symptoms
develop much slower in older adults and can go undetected for years if blood sugar tests are not
performed regularly (2). Diabetes was listed as the seventh leading cause of death in the United
States, with about 80,000 deaths every year (3). Also, diabetes has a major financial weight on
those that need to pay for treatment. According to the ADA, treatment of the disease costs an
individual about $16,752 per year (3). As a result, every 1 out of 4 healthcare dollars is spent on
treatment for diabetes (3). Not only is the cost of treating diabetes high These individuals can
take preventative measures to reverse the effects of prediabetes, live healthier lives, and greatly
reduce medical costs.

The Diabetes Prevention Program or the DPP conducts many studies about how the onset of
diabetes can be delayed or prevented altogether (5). The DPP puts patients that have prediabetes
and are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes through a lifestyle change program that helps
them to lose a healthy amount of weight, encourages changes in diet, increases physical activity,
and prescribes metformin, a generic drug to help treat diabetes (5). This regimen put together by
the DPP has shown results that have delayed or prevented the development of type 2 diabetes by
up to 15 years (5). According to the CDC, approximately 9 out of 10 individuals with prediabetes
can reverse the effects and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes (2). Although no cure
exists for type 2 diabetes, individuals with the disease can return their blood glucose levels back
to a regular level after proper management and undergoing the program (4,5).

If you have family members that are diabetic or believe you may be at risk for developing
type 2 diabetes, visit the Diabetes Prevention Program website at
https://bit.ly/TakethePrediabetesTestToday and take their online test to find out today (1). The
test takes less than 5 minutes and asks generic lifestyle questions that then provides the
individual a risk score out of 10 for having prediabetes. If you score high on this baseline test
scheduling a visit with your doctor would be a good next step in taking responsibility for your
own health. Finally, by taking this test you could save yourself and your family financially and live a
longer and more quality life.

Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, February 5). Take the test – prediabetes.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from
    https://www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/risktest/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2
    Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fdiabetes%2Frisktest%2Findex.html 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 16). Type 2 diabetes. Centers
    for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from
    https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html 
  3. Statistics about diabetes. Statistics About Diabetes | ADA. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21,
    2022, from https://www.diabetes.org/about-us/statistics/about-diabetes
  4. Type 2 diabetes: Can you cure it? Type 2 Diabetes: Can You Cure It? | Michigan Medicine.
    (2021, August 31). Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-
    library/abo1541 
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, August). Diabetes prevention
    program (DPP). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
    Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/research-
    areas/diabetes/diabetes-prevention-program-dpp

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