Know Your ABCs During American Diabetes Month

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November is American Diabetes Month and the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, encourages individuals across the state to learn more about diabetes and get tested if they believe they are at risk for developing the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes, with another 57 million adults at high risk for developing the disease. Last year in Georgia, approximately 700,000 adults were diagnosed with diabetes, while another 350,000 may have had the disease but did not know it.

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“Diabetes is a serious disease here in Georgia because it impacts a great number of our adult population,” said Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, acting director of the Georgia Division of Public Health. “Diabetes can cause serious complications and even lead to premature death for those who are not properly managing it, who do not know they have it or who are at increased risk of getting it. We want individuals across Georgia to learn more about diabetes so they stand a better chance of living full and healthy lives.”

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases marked by high blood glucose levels due to defects in insulin production, insulin action or both. It is also associated with excess glucose production from the liver. Diabetes can cause serious complications such as blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and high blood pressure. Diabetes can also lead to premature death. In 2006, it was the seventh leading cause of death in Georgia, killing 1,626 individuals across the state. For every death with diabetes as the primary cause, there were two other deaths in which diabetes was a contributing cause.

The Georgia Division of Public Health is raising awareness about the symptoms of diabetes so Georgians who are undiagnosed can be identified. Experts recommend that individuals see their doctor and get tested immediately if they have one or more of the following symptoms:

* Frequent urination
* Excessive thirst
* Extreme hunger
* Increased fatigue
* Blurry vision
* Slow healing of wounds
* Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
* Unusual weight loss or gain.

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