Sharing your challenges and successes with people who face the same struggles has proven to be beneficial in controlling diabetes. Get the help you need by joining Northwest Community Hospital’s Diabetes Management Group, a support group for adults with diabetes. Click here for more information or call 847.618.4475.
Here's a sobering statistic: There are 20.8 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, but nearly 6.2 million of them don't even know it. That's because the symptoms, like increased thirst and more frequent urination, often go unnoticed. And that's dangerous, because left unchecked, diabetes can contribute to a host of serious health complications, from vision loss to heart disease and stroke.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body doesn't produce or properly use insulin, the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. The two main types of diabetes are:
"Many people are at higher risk of developing diabetes. Some have a family history of diabetes, though more people are at risk because they are overweight.," says Maria Justina B. Villano, MD, a board-certified endocrinologist. "There's a very clear relationship between weight gain and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In many cases, [the condition] may be preventable."
According to Dr. Villano, people can reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by getting plenty of exercise, increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables and maintaining a healthy weight. "Studies have shown you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by losing as little as seven percent of your body weight," she says.
She also recommends seeing a doctor for blood glucose screenings. According to the American Diabetes Association, screening for the disease is key. The recommendations include:
The good news: As Dr. Villano says, with proper screenings, that sobering statistic could diminish. And more people could control diabetes.