Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Manageable

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There are than 180 million people worldwide have diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. Statistics show that in 2005, an estimated 1.1 million people died from the disease that can be managed.

“Diabetes causes more deaths than breast cancer and AIDS combined,” said Jennifer Polello, manager for the CHER Diabetes Education Center at Inland Northwest Health Services.

Type 2 diabetes which was once known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), which is your body’s main source of fuel. Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not react to the insulin. People with diabetes can manage the disease with oral medication or insulin but change in lifestyle can really make a difference with people with this diagnosis.

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A clinical research study known as the national Diabetes Prevention Program, people who have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal could be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, however, they have a 58 percent chance of preventing diabetes by losing weight and improving their eating and exercise habits.

Sadly, there are many people who either give up or lack the awareness or resources to seek help and education on how to manage their type 2 diabetes. It has been noted that monthly the Diabetes Education Center receives about 100 to 150 physician referrals, however, 40 percent of the patients never call for an appointment, said Polello.

She feels that the problem could be that people with Type 2 diabetes show no symptoms at all. “They don’t feel sick or if their blood sugar has been out of control for a long time, they’ve become used to operating that way,” Polello said. “Some signs of diabetes include blurred vision, frequent urination, extreme weight loss and fatigue. Those who have had the disease for a while without knowing it may experience tingling or numbness in their extremities.”

According to the Eastern Washington Diabetes Network, the disease affects close to 1.3 million people in Washington state. Of that total, roughly 900,000 have pre-diabetes and another 100,000 remain undiagnosed. The rate has doubled since 1990 with the increase in obesity as well as an aging population.

Polello says, “Find out if you’re at risk, if you are at risk, remember that there are things you can do to prevent diabetes. For those who have diabetes, it’s important for them to know that they can still live a normal life and take control of this disease.”

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