The month of November is raising awareness for a growing public health crisis – Diabetes!
Every 23 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes.
More than 29 million adults have diabetes and 25 percent don’t even know it.
Eighty-six million Americans are at risk for diabetes.
While these numbers are alarming, several health organizations are working hard to reverse this epidemic.
One of those groups is Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Show Low.
Becky Moffat, certified diabetes educator, at the hospital gave us a few tips to help those suffering with the disease and ones that have prediabetes.
“As we get older, our risk for diabetes increases,” Moffat said. “If a woman had gestational diabetes that increases her risk.
If you have a family member, mother, father or sibling that increases your risk of developing diabetes as well,” Moffat continued.
What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?
“People with Type 1 diabetes don’t make any insulin,” Moffat said. “It’s considered an autoimmune disease and they require insulin injections to stay alive.
“Those suffering with Type 2 diabetes make some insulin, just not enough. The disease progresses over time and often people with this type need insulin injections after 10 years,” she continued.
“However those with Type 2 diabetes respond really well to lifestyle changes in the early stages of the disease.”
Insulin allows blood sugar to enter cells and be used for energy. When the body doesn’t have enough or can’t use it properly, the blood sugar will build up in the blood leading to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputation of toes, feet or legs.
“Type 2 diabetes is preventable,” Moffat said. “It doesn’t take a dramatic lifestyle change to make a difference.”
Small changes from eating right, exercising and losing weight can be just what the doctor ordered.
“You can stay in control of it and prevent every single complication associated with diabetes by testing your blood sugar levels, taking your medication, eating right and exercising,” Moffat said.
It’s also important to recognize symptoms from excessive drinking or frequent urinating as a sign to go see a doctor.
Moffat works with clients, who are referred to her at the hospital, in an outpatient setting. She does one on one sessions along with teaching a 5-week Diabetes Self Management Education class.
“The patients come to us with a deer in the headlights look and [once done with the class] they come away feeling empowered,” Moffat said.
Food is a big part of the 5-week session. Moffat likes referencing the ChooseMyPlate.gov website.
“For diabetes, I recommend half of the plate be non-starchy vegetables, one fourth starch, one fourth protein and meat and fruit or milk as a side or snack,” Moffat said.
Moffat loves to see her patients succeed and believes the diabetes education she provides in the White Mountains of Arizona is helping keep people accountable.
“To make a commitment is really the best way to change your habits and get healthier,” Moffat said.
Starting in January, the hospital will be offering a Diabetes Prevention Program. The CDC recognized curriculum caters to those who have prediabetes. It will meet weekly for 16 weeks and then monthly for six months.
For more information visit www.summithealthcare.net or call 928-537-6984.