Diabetes is one of the most pervasive chronic health problems in the United States with rates rising daily. Diabetes affects an estimated 23.6 million people in the United States and is the 7th leading cause of death. Almost 25 percent of Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, and another 57 million Americans have blood glucose levels that greatly increase their risk of developing diabetes in the next several years.1 It is also one of the major concerns for many of the people Nourish 927 coach on a regular basis. Ok so what does that mean for you? Number one, odds are, with that many people diagnosed in the United States with diabetes you personally know someone who is dealing with this illness or you yourself are either dealing with this daily or are at risk for developing. Number two, what is diabetes, what are the types of diabetes and how can you reduce your risk of developing type 2 and gestational diabetes? All of these issues will be covered in this 8-week blog series, as well as, the creation of a planned health communication intervention.
Before we discuss anything else we need to identify what exactly diabetes is, and the different types of diabetes that exist. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce or respond appropriately to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to absorb and use glucose (sugar) as fuel for the body’s cells. Without a properly functioning insulin signaling system, blood glucose levels become elevated and other metabolic abnormalities occur, leading to the development of serious, disabling complications.2 There are three types of diabetes, Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, which results when the body loses its ability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes, which results from a combination of resistance to the action of insulin and insufficient insulin production. Gestational diabetes is a common complication of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can lead to perinatal complications in mother and child and substantially increases the likelihood of cesarean section. Gestational diabetes is also a risk factor for subsequent development of type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.2
Risk factors for diabetes depend on the type of diabetes, some of these factors can be preventable and some are unknown. Risk factors will be discussed in detail in later posts. But, as stated earlier as the 7th leading cause of death in the United States diabetes touches almost everyone in the United States at some point in their life, whether directly or indirectly. Working with the Montgomery County Health Department to help Montgomery County and Fort Campbell residents determine if they are at risk for diabetes, specifically Type 2 diabetes, and what they can do to eliminate preventable risk factors will be the focus of the health communication intervention through this blog. The Montgomery County Health Department's mission is to identify and respond to the public health needs that affect this community. The county health department provides a variety of basic health services, both to keep you healthy, and if you are sick, to get well. Listed below are some of the services we offer.3 If you at any point would like to discuss your concerns with personal risk factors please email Nourish927@gmail.com.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National diabetes fact sheet: General information and national estimates on diabetes in the United States, 2007. Atlanta: CDC; 2008.
2. Healthypeople.gov. Diabetes | Healthy People 2020. 2015. Available at: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/diabetes. Accessed August 28, 2015.