Faith Community Health System urges the community to learn more about the dangers of diabetes.

With COVID-19 still a threat to the nation, protecting yourself is essential, especially if you have conditions that can lead to severe complications if you are infected with the coronavirus. One of those conditions is diabetes.

Diabetes Alert Day takes place on March 23 this year, and there is no better time to talk with your medical provider about your status, screening options, and how to prevent or better manage the deadly disease.

Observed on the fourth Tuesday in March each year, the American Diabetes Association Alert Day is designed to serve as an awareness campaign to educate Americans about the severe nature of diabetes, primarily Type 2.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that causes the pancreas to alter insulin production – an important hormone that converts sugar and starches into energy the body needs. If the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, then the amount of sugar in the blood rises uncontrollably, causing a deadly health risk.

There are three common types of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational.

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin produced, causing health issues. Type 2 diabetes is the focus of attention during Alert Day, as it is the type that could cause death.

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 2.8 million Texans, or 14.2 percent of the state’s population, have diabetes. Of these, an estimated 663,000 have diabetes but do not know it, increasing their health risk.

Studies show that 6.8 million people in Texas, or 37.2 percent of the adult population, have prediabetes, with blood glucose levels higher than usual but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness, itching, blurred vision, excessive weight, tingling in the extremities, fatigue, and skin infections.  Other signs include slow healing of cuts and scratches, especially those on the feet. 

Individuals at the highest risk of diabetes are typically overweight, have diabetic relatives, or are over age 35. Statistics also show that women are at a higher risk for diabetes, as are those with a family history of the disease.

Screening for diabetes is available with a simple blood test. With screening, your medical provider can determine what stage of the disease you have and how you can maintain optimum health.

Diabetes is generally managed through a balanced diet, exercise, and medication. As with other diseases and illnesses, everyone can benefit from a yearly physical.  Screening for diabetes for those who fall in the high-risk categories should be done annually. 

Suppose you or a loved one is living with diabetes and would like more information about caring for yourself and preventing the onset of diabetes-related complications. In that case, the Specialty Clinic at FCHS has a Medicare-certified Diabetes Self-management Education Program.

The diabetes program at FCHS is a collaborative process that provides patients with a one-on-one consultation to develop a diet and exercise program that helps individuals successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions.

For more information about the accredited diabetes education program, please call 940-567-6633.