What if I told you there is a disorder you are likely to get, one that will cost you thousands of dollars and is not guaranteed to be covered by insurance? What if I further told you this disease, if untreated, could cause short-term inconveniences like fatigue, skin infections, blurred vision and mood swings, as well as long-term issues like heart disease, stroke, kidney problems and nerve damage? Fortunately, this disorder is both preventable and manageable!
November is National Diabetes Month, an effort to draw attention to the millions of people who have diabetes, do not know they have diabetes, or are at risk of diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 30 million Americans have diabetes, but 7.2 million (almost 1 in 4) do not know it. Another 84 million have prediabetes, a condition that leads to type 2 diabetes if not treated.
That means one-third of the U. S. population has diabetes or prediabetes.
Do not stop reading. It seems to be quite common to ignore one’s risk of diabetes, thinking it is inevitable and not a big deal. It is a huge deal, and it isn’t inevitable.
Let’s start with misconceptions.
On a positive note, there is much you can do to help with diabetes prevention and treatment.
While you are the most important advocate and manager of your own health, you are not alone. Get support from health-care professionals, family and friends. The Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center offers ongoing classes as part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, as do other health providers throughout the state. The KRNC also offers a new, evidence-based eight-week program called Diabetes Empowerment for those with type 2 diabetes. Be sure to explore your community resources and get on track now to prevent, manage or just learn more about diabetes.
As published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan
Melissa Wdowik, PhD, RDN, LDN, FAND
is a nutrition educator with over 20 years experience as a college professor, nutrition coach, presenter and writer, as well as a nutrition consultant and founding director of the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center.