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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

November 05, 2014

By Monica Wacker, RN, Community Hospital Certified Diabetic Educator 

McCook, Nebraska—Since November is diabetes awareness month, Community Hospital would like to provide awareness to this ever growing chronic illness.

So, what is 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 cannot use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.

Currently there are 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the population who has diabetes. Of that amount, 21 million are diagnosed, with 8.1 million people not knowing they have the disease.

Two elevated blood glucose readings are needed to diagnose diabetes, unless a person shows signs and symptoms. Blood glucose can be tested when a person has a physical once yearly or they are offered at many local health fairs. Diagnosis of diabetes can be made with these blood test results:

• Fasting of 126mg/dl or greater blood glucose

• Random blood glucose of 200mg/dl or greater

• A1c of 6.5% or greater

If a person has these signs and symptoms of diabetes, it would be recommended to follow up with their health care provider:

• Increased thirst

• Increased urination

• Fatigue

• A sore that will not heal

• Blurred vision

• Dry itchy skin

Treatment for diabetes consists of a healthy diet, activity and sometimes medication. Community Hospital offers individual and group classes for diabetes. We also offer a support group meeting that meets regularly from September through May. For more information, call Monica Wacker RN, CDE at 308-344-8539 or email at mwacker@chmccook.org.

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