Diabetes Awareness Key to Disease Prevention

National Diabetes Awareness Month Reminds Patients to Hone Diabetes Knowledge

DAYTON, Ohio (November 14, 2011) – As the rate of diabetes diagnoses in America increases, doctors continue to inform patients about risk factors for the disease and encourage them to take the necessary steps for diabetes prevention. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans are living with diabetes, seven million of which are undiagnosed. By the year 2050, as many as one in three Americans will have diabetes unless major lifestyle changes are made. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month—the perfect time for Americans to educate themselves on the disease and make lifestyle changes that could prevent the development of this chronic disease.

“Diabetes is about more than just blood sugar—it affects every organ system in the body,” said Dr. Anessa Alappatt of Fairborn Medical Center. “If people take the steps necessary to prevent diabetes, they will see the benefit in other aspects of their health as well.”

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. The American Diabetes Association defines type 1 diabetes as a disease in which the body does not produce insulin. It was previously known as juvenile diabetes because it’s usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is the most common form of the disease. It is a result of the body not producing enough insulin or the cells in the body are unable to use the insulin that is produced. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease in which the body attacks itself, destroying insulin-producing cells. No person is immune to diabetes, but there are certain populations that are at increased risk for developing the disease, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans, as well as the elderly and overweight populations.

In addition to race and age, there are other factors that put individuals at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and inactivity. Individuals with a family history of diabetes or women diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy are also at an increased risk for developing the disease.

“Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in physical activity are also keys to prevention,” said Dr. Alappatt. “Individuals should strive to consume five to six servings of fruits and vegetables each day and swap simple carbohydrates, like white potatoes and breads, for whole wheat varieties with more fiber.”

If an individual is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are a number of treatment options available that their doctor will discuss with them, including insulin and other medications.

Premier Health provides American Diabetes Association-certified education programs for individuals to learn more about the disease and how to live with it. To learn more about Premier Health Partners’ education programs, visit www.premierhealth.com/diabetes.  Additionally, Premier HealthNet physicians utilize up-to-date methods and tools to deliver great care for the patient.

"At Premier HealthNet, we’ve put in place initiatives to provide a high quality of care for chronic diseases, such as our program to meet the standards set by the American Diabetes Association,” said Evan Steffens, director of Clinical and Quality Systems at Premier HealthNet. “We choose to do this because the high-quality care and management of chronic diseases is a part of our core values and embedded into everything we do.”

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