Submitted by Valeria Lopez, Community Health Educator
Did you know that diabetes affects 1.5 million people in the United States each year? November 14th is World Diabetes Day, and an important reminder to all at risk for this chronic disease.
Diabetes is a chronic health disease in which the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body does not utilize it, affecting how your body handles glucose levels. When this happens, the body is unable to utilize the glucose as energy because of the key that opens the cells, insulin, malfunctions, leaving all the glucose in the circulation and causing damage to various sections of the body.
Unfortunately, many people who have been diagnosed with diabetes may not know how to appropriately treat or control their condition. Cardiovascular problems, skin issues, renal failure, and even blindness can all result from an untreated diagnosis, among other things. As a result, it is critical to educate our community on how to avoid and/or manage this chronic illness. It is uncommon to hear of folks who have lost loved ones to diabetes or who have had a lower limb amputation owing to a diabetes-related complication. Even though all these stories are quite common, it is critical to emphasize that getting diagnosed does not imply a loss of limb or other extreme difficulty. Changing your eating choices and becoming more active can help you regulate your blood sugar levels. People must realize that, even though diabetes is known to run in families, their chances of developing the disease may be reduced if they begin to watch what they eat and do.
Diabetes was attributed to 1.5 million deaths in 2019.
Could you imagine how different these figures would be if we had the opportunity to reach out to more people and teach them how to include healthier foods in their meals, as well as the need to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day? Not only teaching them but putting it into practice.
The Diabetes Education and Empowerment Program (DEEP™) is one of Esperança's preventative health education initiatives for our most vulnerable clients. Many people have told us about how they were diagnosed with pre-diabetes and were able to correct the condition by making a few lifestyle modifications. People with diabetes had high glucose levels all the time, so they began to lower them by increasing their auto-monitoring and making objectives to live a healthy lifestyle. It is not always simple to make changes, but with commitment and support, it is achievable. A balanced diet, frequent physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important.