WPAFB: November is Diabetes Awareness Month


Greene County News

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Every five minutes, two people die of diabetes-related causes while 14 are diagnosed with the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes and 86 million, one in four people, are at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

November has been determined as Diabetes Awareness Month.

Type 1 diabetes, which is frequently called childhood diabetes, is when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Those with Type 1 will need to take insulin for life in order to survive. Only five percent of diabetics have Type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not have enough insulin or cannot use it effectively and in turn, blood sugar builds up in the blood system.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 can prevented or delayed by making lifestyle changes.

Diabetes nurse educator/program coordinator for the endocrinology and metabolism clinic at the 88th Medical Group, Susan Agee, said the first line of prevention from Type 2 diabetes is getting screened for pre-diabetes.

Adults with no risk factors should be screened after the age of 45. Risk factors for diabetes include family history, being overweight, history of gestational diabetes or being sedentary. African Americans, Asians and Native Americans are also prone to the disease.

“According to the American Diabetes Association, any adult with a BMI over 25 and has at least one additional risk factor, should be screened every three years,” said endocrinologist and diabetes champion for the 88th MDG, Capt. Andrew Paulus.

“A lot of patients do not have symptoms of diabetes,” said Agee. “If they do have symptoms, many patients assume they are related to age and getting older, so they do not make the association.”

Some symptoms of diabetes include urinating more frequently, an increase in eating, fatigue, blurred vision and wounds not healing as rapidly.

Health risks of having diabetes are cardiovascular issues, higher risk of heart attack or stroke, blindness, kidney disease or failure, high blood pressure and nerve damage.

“People do not realize what the impact of diabetes can do, it eats up every part of your body,” Agee said. “If you can keep blood sugar levels under control, these risks are less likely to happen.”

Agee said the Diabetes Prevention Program conducted a research study of approximately 3,200 pre-diabetic people in which a heathier lifestyle change was implemented to prevent developing Type 2 diabetes. The study resulted in profoundly reducing the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. More than 58 percent did not develop diabetes and patients over 60 years old had a 71 percent reduction.

As a result from the success of the study, pre-diabetic programs were created to prevent developing diabetes.

One of those programs created to prevent Type 2 diabetes is the Group Lifestyle Balance Program at the 88th MDG. Classes are offered on meal planning, healthy eating and accountability by tracking what they eat. In addition, behavioral health is also covered to help patients work through the lifestyle change.

“Once diagnosed with diabetes, it can be well controlled to where one could possibly go off diabetic medications,” Paulus said. “It’s like going into remission, you still have it but it can come back if you revert to your old lifestyle.”

“Just basic lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your chance of becoming pre-diabetic or diabetic. Losing seven percent of your weight, eating a low fat and calorie healthy diet and being active such as a brisk walk for just 150 minutes a week, can make a huge difference,” Agee said.

For additional information on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website at http://www.diabetes.org/.

Story courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Story courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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