USA: NH Jacksonville Recognizes American Diabetes Month
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), nearly 26 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and another 79 million have prediabetes – glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
November is designated as American Diabetes Month, with Nov. 14 being World Diabetes Day – themed “Protect our Future.”
This year’s focus raises awareness to the ever-growing incidence of diabetes and directing attention to issues surrounding it, the many people impacted and resources available to help.
Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and or use insulin – the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy to sustain the body each day. ADA recognizes three types of diabetes; type 1, type 2 and gestational.
Symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, thirst, extreme fatigue, blurry vision and weight loss to name a few.
Type 1 – previously known as juvenile diabetes – often runs in families. Although it can occur at any age, it usually presents before 40 years of age. Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin, due to an autoimmune process which destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. Treatment of this type is usually through careful dieting, insulin injections and regular blood glucose monitoring.
Type 2 – formerly known as adult onset diabetes – is the most common form of diabetes and is due either the lack of insulin production and/or the cells are not reacting to insulin. Risk factors include obesity, race/ethnicity (African American, Native American, Pacific Islander, Asian and Hispanic), family history, over 40 years of age and sedentary lifestyles. Treatment of this type includes weight loss, proper dieting, regular exercise and blood glucose monitoring. Some cases may require oral medications or insulin injections.
Gestational diabetes is when pregnant women show signs of high blood glucose levels, usually around the 24th week of pregnancy. This diagnosis doesn’t mean that one has had, or will have diabetes after birth. Risk factors include women over 25 years of age, obesity, family or personal history and race. Treatment includes frequent monitoring of blood glucose, proper dieting, regular exercise and close monitoring of unborn child.
Diabetes screenings should be considered in younger adults and children who are overweight or obese, or who are at high risk for diabetes based on risk factors. Given the lower incidence of type 1 diabetes, there is no consensus to screen. Screening is based on individual risk factors or concerning symptoms. Screening for type 2 diabetes should be considered in all adults 45 years of age and older.
“There are several blood tests to diagnose diabetes: A1C, fasting glucose, oral glucose tolerance test and random glucose test,” said Cmdr. Julie Lundstad, Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville’s Diabetes Nurse Educator. “There must be a second test – same test or a different one – conducted on a different day to confirm the diagnosis.
“Denial about the diagnosis of diabetes and risk of complications is common among patients. This may be partly due to the fact that diabetes symptoms aren’t painful, like chest pain with heart attacks. But the truth is, that uncontrolled diabetes (high blood sugars) can cause complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease and lower-limb amputation, added Lundstad.”
NH Jacksonville will be promoting diabetes awareness throughout the month of November, sharing information about health related services for its patients who already have diabetes as well as disseminating information about the risk factors and screening for the disease, as part of the ongoing preventive health care services of its Medical Home Port teams. A wellness display will be available at Naval Air Station Jacksonville’s Navy Exchange Nov. 14 from noon to 2 p.m. to provide diabetes information to our nation’s heroes – active duty, retirees and their families.
Diabetes is a serious disease. Regular check-ups and eye exams are vital to diagnosing diabetes or managing your health. Establish a relationship with your diabetes educator and ask for help when needed.
NH Jacksonville’s priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation’s heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy’s third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. Of its patient population-about 163,000 active and retired Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, National Guardsmen and their families-more than 57,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager at one of its facilities.
Press Release, October 29, 2013; Image: US Navy