What is diabetes?
is a chronic condition in which your body either does not produce
enough insulin, or it does not use insulin properly. Diabetes can lead
to serious health complications, including kidney disease, nerve damage
and vision problems. It can also raise your risk of heart disease. In
fact, 2 out of 3 people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke.
This is likely because most people with diabetes also have one or more
cardio metabolic risk factors, which are being overweight, having high
blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and high triglycerides.
The death rate from diabetes continues to climb. Since 1987, the
death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45%, while the death rates
due to cancer, heart disease, and stroke have declined.
60-70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage
that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion,
sexual dysfunction, and other nerve problems.
The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
- Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
Certified diabetes educators at North Kansas City Hospital provide
patients with knowledge and resources to help prevent or live with
diabetes. Your team consists of a nurse, dietician, pharmacist, physical
therapist and social worker. These group sessions are available during
daytime, evening hours and on Saturday; and require a physician
referral. For more information about the Living with Diabetes program,
call Outpatient Scheduling at North Kansas City Hospital, 816-691-5267.
Individualized care is offered if you are a patient in the Hospital. A
nurse will visit your room to speak with you about medications, food
planning, exercise and any questions you may have regarding your
There is also a free
support group available that meets the first Thursday of even months at 7
p.m. For more information about the Living with Diabetes support group,
call Mary Beth Fisher, 816-691-1666.
Pre-diabetes commonly has no signs or symptoms.
Take action and decrease your risk:
Factors that increase your risk:
- Know your fasting glucose number. Normal range is 60 - 100 mg/dL.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for you. It is
particularly important to reduce excess abdominal fat (apple-shaped
bodies are at increased risk).
- Increase your physical activity.
- Manage your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The following factors can increase your risk, and the more factors
that apply to you, the more important it is to make sure you are taking
action to prevent diabetes.
- Age - 45 or older
- Family history of pre-diabetes or diabetes
- Hispanic, African-, Asian-, or Indian-American
- Gestational diabetes (or delivered a baby over 9 pounds)
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Poor diet or exercsing less than three times a week
- High blood pressure and abnormal blood cholesterol levels
Watch for "red flags" that warn you may have diabetes:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores and frequent infections
- Itchy skin
The American Diabetes Association recommends routine blood glucose
screenings for everyone, starting at age 45. Pre-diabetes testing is
important for anyone with a family history of type 2 diabetes, women
with a personal history of gestational diabetes and for those who are
obese or have cardio metabolic syndrome.
Steps you can take to help prevent diabetes:
- Partner with your doctor - discuss any symptoms and review both your personal and family medical history.
- Eat to prevent diabetes - follow a balanced, nutritious diet and limit portion sizes.
- Exercise - 30 minutes of regular exercise most days of the week is recommended.
- Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for your body -
excess weight increases blood pressure and works against the action of
- Stop smoking - if you smoke, quit!
- Reduce alcohol intake - limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day.
If you already have diabetes, the same preventive measures will also
help you manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of health
complications down the road. With proper management, diabetes can be
controlled...by being on the alert, you can help prevent diabetes from
happening to you.