November is American Diabetes Month!
Find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes by visiting the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program website and take the online quiz or print a screening test.
A Schenectady County health survey, supported by a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant, found that Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a problem in our community that we can all help to overcome. Over 800 adult residents participated in the survey. About half of the surveys were completed by Guyanese (also known as West Indian) residents.
In the United States, 9.3% of the population has diabetes (CDC National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014). In Schenectady County, 16.1% of the non-Hispanic whites who completed the survey had T2D - which is almost twice the national rate. In the Guyanese community 30.3% of adults had T2D – a rate approximately three times greater than that of the general U.S. population.
What many people don’t know is that Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented! Take charge of your health! Diet and activity are your best defense against diabetes. Protect yourself and your family. Talk to your doctor about your risks and ask to be tested. Get moving, eat right, lose weight...and learn more!
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
What are the risk factors for Type2 Diabetes?
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
- Older age
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
- Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease
- Family history of diabetes
- For women, prior history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Race/ethnicity.Guyanese, West Indians, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
People who think they might have diabetes must visit a physician for diagnosis. They might have SOME or NONE of the following symptoms:
- Vision changes
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Feeling very tired much of the time
- Very dry skin
- Sores that are slow to heal
- More infections than usual
Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) occurs more frequently in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and people with a family history of diabetes than in other groups. Obesity is also associated with higher risk. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35% to 60% chance of developing diabetes in the next 10–20 years.
Other specific types of diabetes, which may account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases, result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses.
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