Diabetes is a huge health problem for many Idahoans: Nearly 600,000 Idaho adults have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to learn what you can do to prevent the disease or get help managing it.
How do you find out if you have it?
The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults over the age of 45 be screened for diabetes every three years. Catching it early can prevent complications such as heart disease, stroke, and blindness. Many insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, will pay for the screening with the recommendation from a healthcare provider.
Is it possible to have prediabetes but still prevent type 2 diabetes?
Prediabetes happens when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. For some people, early diagnosis and intervention can return blood glucose levels to the normal range. People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes are eligible to participate in a Diabetes Prevention Program, which are offered throughout the state. The program will help you take charge of your health to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Find out your risk for developing prediabetes and learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program by going to www.diabetes.idaho.gov.
What are some ways to prevent type 2 diabetes?
Exercising moderately for 30 minutes a day for five days a week and losing weight will dramatically reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Even if you can’t get to your ideal body weight, losing just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference.
What are some of the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes?
The most common symptoms include having to urinate often, feeling very hungry and thirsty, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, and cuts and bruises that don’t heal as they normally would. But many people experience no symptoms. Getting tested is important because early diagnosis and treatment can reduce your risk for developing complications later on.
What are some of those complications?
If the disease isn’t detected early enough, type 2 diabetes can cause or contribute to kidney disease, high blood pressure (which raises your risk for heart attack and stroke), foot complications from nerve damage, and glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems.
After you’ve been diagnosed, what is the treatment?
Your doctor will work with you to come up with a plan that might include medication or insulin injections, but exercise and weight management also are important. Accredited and recognized Diabetes Self-Management Education programs are available throughout the state and are reimbursable by Medicaid, Medicare, and most insurance plans. In those programs, an educator works with adults with type 2 diabetes to help them find healthy solutions that fit into their lifestyles. Participants need a referral from their healthcare providers. You can find a list of these programs at www.diabetes.idaho.gov.
(Note: A Closer Look airs at about 6:50 a.m. most Tuesdays. This is the segment from Nov. 20.)