November 1st marked the beginning of the American Diabetes Month — the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) annual awareness campaign.
Did you know, as of 2019, more than 100 million individuals in America are living with diabetes or prediabetes? This means approximately 43.3 percent of Americans are living with diabetes or prediabetes. In Ohio, approximately 13.5 percent of the adult population has diabetes. These numbers rise on a daily basis with more people getting the diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes does not only affect adults. There are many types of diabetes, but the most commonly known are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.
The ADA lists the most common symptoms of diabetes as urinating often, feeling abnormally thirsty, feeling very hungry (even though you are eating), extreme fatigue, blurry vision, cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, weight loss (even though you are eating more, and this symptom is mainly associated with type 1 diabetes), tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and/or feet (this symptom is mainly found in type 2 diabetes). Even though some symptoms can arise, Type 2 Diabetes may have such mild symptoms it can easily go unnoticed and often gestational diabetes has no symptoms at all. If you are having any of these symptoms and think you are at risk of developing diabetes, you should contact your healthcare provider right away to get screened. Early detection and treatment of diabetes decreases the risk of developing serious lifelong complications and/or death among diabetics of all ages.
Research indicates the most common type of diabetes among us is Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is when the body does not use insulin (a hormone created by the pancreas) effectively. This is most likely to onset as an adult. Type 1, which is less common, is when the body produces no insulin at all and can onset at any age but is more commonly diagnosed in children. The last commonly known type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, and this type is onset around the 24th week a woman is pregnant. This does not mean she had diabetes before the pregnancy or that she will continue having diabetes after birth, but usually it will last for the duration of a woman’s pregnancy.
Many who have been diagnosed with diabetes know they are supposed to “live a healthy lifestyle,” but this has not been explained to them thoroughly. The Meigs County Health Department receives Appalachian Regional Commission grant funding through Marshall University to employ a Community Health Worker (CHW), who provides free education to those living with diabetes. As a CHW, I work hand in hand with health care providers to educate those who want assistance with their Type 2 Diabetes management. For more information about our free program, you can contact me at 740-992-6626.
Kiera Frank is a Community Health Worker with the Meigs County Health Department.