It’s no accident November is National Diabetes Month
THE ISSUE: Many people who have diabetes don’t even know it.
OUR VIEW: Controlling diabetes is the key to a healthier, longer life.
It probably isn’t a coincidence that November has been designated National Diabetes Month. It’s the time of year when children have just brought bags of candy into the house and families are gearing up for the food season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s coming down the pike.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30 million people in this country have diabetes, but as many as 25 percent of them don’t know it. Although there are indicators that one may be diabetic, a rising blood sugar level isn’t something that can be felt.
Overall, the Type 2 diabetes is much more prevalent than Type 1 diabetes. The CDC estimates that, out of all those with diabetes, only 5 percent are Type 1.
The Macoupin County Public Health Department (MCPHD) has many resources for those living with diabetes. On their website at mcphd.net, there’s a column on the left side of the page. In that column is a listing called “Disease Prevention/Control.” Hovering over that heading will reveal a drop-down menu that contains “Diabetes Services.”
This section of the website explains what diabetes is. It outlines the risk factors for pre-diabetes, which include being age 45 or older, having a family history, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, history of gestational diabetes and belonging to certain ethnic groups.
It lists the most common symptoms for diabetes, including frequent urination; blurred vision; unusual thirst; numbness or tingling in hands or feet; frequent skin, bladder and gum infections; extreme fatigue; irritability; slow healing cuts and bruises; unexplained weight loss; recurring yeast infections; and intense hunger.
The site goes on to list a variety of online sources for more information.
Most importantly, those concerned about being at risk for diabetes can find out how MCPHD can help them.
MCPHD has been part of the Illinois Diabetes Prevention and Control program since 1997 in an effort to ease the damage the disease does to residents, locally. It’s estimated that more than 3,500 people in Macoupin County live with diabetes. That’s a lot.
There’s a link to a risk test on the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The services offered through MCPHD include A1C testing, along with cholesterol and glucose screening. These are offered from 8 a.m. to noon on the fourth Monday of each month at the MCPHD Carlinville location on a first-come, first-served basis.
Patients can receive nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian and can have access to the department’s lending library, which includes a variety of books including cookbooks and book on various American Diabetes Association topics. There are even informational materials available for teens and young children.
MCPHD offers a free six-week workshop on managing chronic diseases. It’s offered at various locations throughout the county.
If the risk factors or the symptoms apply to you, now is the time to do something about it. Help is available, but it’s up to you to get it.