On Friday, Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day will be observed to raise awareness of this serious disease.
• What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by high blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. The increase in blood glucose levels results from a defect in insulin secretion, insulin action, or sometimes both.
Nationally, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death and the seventh leading cause of death in North Carolina. It is estimated that 653,000 people in N.C. have diabetes and about one-third of them are not aware that they have the disease.
Between 2002 and 2006, the age-adjusted death rate for diabetes in Robeson County was 60.1 per 100,000 as compared to 27.1 per 100,000 for North Carolina.
This means that Robeson County’s rate was more than double the state rate.
With 23.6 million children and adults in the United States having diabetes, this disease affects people from all walks of life, in every stage of life.
• How can I prevent diabetes?
Type 2 and gestational diabetes can usually be prevented by maintaining a healthy body weight. To maintain a weight that is healthy for you, follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. This means eating well-balanced meals and getting daily exercise.
• Why is prevention so important?
Diabetes can lead to many other complications. Chronic diabetes can damage your blood vessels, which can lead to damage of your eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes can also speed the hardening of arteries which leads to coronary artery disease. Other complications of Type 2 diabetes are hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol levels.
• Are you at risk?
If you can answer “yes” to the following three questions, you may be at risk:
Are you over 65?
Are you overweight?
Are you physically inactive?
In recognition of World Diabetes Day, the Diabetes Community Center, an affiliate of Southeastern Regional Medical Center, is asking those potentially at risk for diabetes to call (910) 671-5595 for information on obtaining a diabetes risk assessment.
Don’t put it off. It’s time to make a difference in your life and in the lives of those you love!