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Katie Heckman, Manager, Community Relations
KentuckyOne Health Encouraging the Public to Learn About Diabetes Prevention
More than 29 million Americans are currently living with diabetes
Berea, Ky. (November 16, 2016) – November marks the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month, and Saint Joseph Berea, part of KentuckyOne Health, is encouraging the public to educate themselves on how to prevent or manage the disease. More than 29 million Americans are currently living with diabetes, including more than 467,000 people in Kentucky. With such high numbers, it’s important that community members take time to learn more about this disease, how it affects the body, and risk factors to watch out for.
“Diabetes is an epidemic,” said Donny Hardy, MD, KentuckyOne Health Primary Care Associates. “As many as 1 in 3 people may develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. This is why it’s important to learn about diabetes prevention and the steps that will help you fight back against this disease.”
Diabetes is often a long-term disease that affects the way your body uses carbohydrates, protein and fats. This disease occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make a hormone called insulin at all, or like it once did. The body uses insulin to help get the blood sugar out of the blood vessels and into the body’s many cells for energy.
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, blood sugar begins to build up in the blood vessel, which can cause problems inside the body such as nerve damage in the feet, heart, kidneys, eyes, and/or stomach, along with other complications such as periodontal disease, impotence, and hearing impairment.
There are three main types of diabetes, including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
Approximately 10 percent of Americans suffering from the disease are living with type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin at all and insulin injections are required.
Type 2 diabetes is more common, affecting approximately 90 percent of those suffering from the disease. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or use insulin well. This type of diabetes is genetic and can be controlled with diet, exercise or oral medications; however, patients may require insulin injections eventually if they don’t change eating habits or activity levels. People diagnosed with this disease are classified as overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis.
Many people who develop type 2 diabetes have had abnormal blood sugar readings prior to being diagnosed, which clinicians refer to as prediabetes. Prediabetes means blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can often be reversed with modest weight loss and increase in physical activity to lower blood sugar levels.
The only way to determine whether a patient has prediabetes is with a regular blood test, but there are risk factors that people should be aware of. Those who are at higher risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes often have risk factors that include being overweight, 45 years or older, having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, being physically active fewer than three times a week, giving birth to a baby that is more than 9 pounds, or having diabetes during a pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes only occurs in pregnant women and also means the body is not producing insulin normally. Like type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes causes blood sugar levels to become too high. Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes may not be permanent. Once a baby is born, blood sugar may return to normal quickly. However, having gestational diabetes can put the woman at risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Those at a higher risk for diabetes are encouraged to enroll in a diabetes prevention program. KentuckyOne Health is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a provider of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This CDC-recognized lifestyle change program was developed specifically to prevent type 2 diabetes, and is designed for those who have prediabetes, or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
“The KentuckyOne Health diabetes prevention program is a two-part program that takes place in a group setting and lasts 12 months,” said Dr. Hardy. “Topics covered include eating healthier, reducing stress, increasing physical activity, group support, keys to healthy eating out, and ways to stay motivated.”
The goal of this program is to help participants lose seven percent of their body weight, and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Studies show that those who meet these goals have a 58 percent chance of preventing diabetes.
For more information on diabetes and nutrition education, go to www.kentuckyonehealth.org/diabetescare, or call 859.313.2393.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health, the largest and most comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth, has more than 200 locations, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved. The system is made up of the former Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System, along with the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.