Jefferson County Health Center goal: Diabetes awareness, prevention
Diabetes has reached epidemic levels in this country and in Jefferson County. It is currently the fastest growing disease in America. In 2010, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people 20 years or older. For all age groups, there are 20.8 million people, or 7 percent of the population that have been diagnosed with diabetes, but an alarming 6.2 million remain undiagnosed.
Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. Recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes can decrease the chance of developing complications from diabetes. Complications can include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, blindness, eye problems, kidney disease, nervous system diseases and amputations. Overall the risk of death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of a similar age without diabetes. The good news is that with early detection and life style changes these risks can be greatly reduced.
Being aware of the symptoms and having your blood sugar checked and monitored by your health care provider is essential for prevention and management of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but most commonly is diagnosed from infancy to the late 30s. In this type of diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces little or no insulin.
Type 2 diabetes typically develops after age 40, but can appear earlier, and has recently begun to appear with more frequency in children. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but the body does not produce enough or is not able to use it effectively. Treatment includes diet control, exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose and, in some cases, oral drugs or insulin.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Unusual weight loss
Extreme fatigue and Irritability
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Any of the type 1 symptoms, plus
Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your health care provider right away.
For people who are at risk of developing diabetes, increased physical activity and healthier food choices can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. In addition, unhealthy cholesterol levels can raise your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Talk to your health care provider about how often you should have your cholesterol checked and what numbers you should aim for. You can also stop in our lab, and have your cholesterol checked without a doctor’s written order.
If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, the Jefferson County Health Center can help you. Learn how to live a healthier life with diabetes at our Diabetes Self-Management Program. Contact your health care provider for a referral or call the Diabetes Educator Marty Chandler, RN, at 469-4292 for assistance with the referral process.
Our goal in providing quality health care to our community is to offer free diabetes screening opportunities for the public. We have offered free testing at the Jefferson County Fair and at the Kiwanis Kids Day parade and there will be another free screening on Jan. 5 at Hy-Vee. We are also offering free diabetes screenings to businesses and organizations. If your business or organization is interested in hosting a free diabetes screening please contact Marty Chandler at 469-4292.
Marty Chandler is a registered nurse and diabetes educator at Jefferson County Health Center.