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Diabetes Alert Day 2022 | The Transplant Institute at Methodist Dallas

Every year The Transplant Institute at Methodist Dallas treat patients with kidney disease, often associated with diabetes; so every year on the fourth Tuesday of March, our focus is dedicated to the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Alert Day. This day is part of a movement to bring more awareness and understanding about diabetes.

Known as the ‘silent killer,’ it is estimated that more than 34 million Americans or 10.5% of the population are at risk of developing diabetes and most don’t know it. If that wasn’t bad enough, these numbers continue to rise.

Unawareness continues to be a substantial and stubborn road block in the fight against diabetes. To better understand the magnitude of the diabetes epidemic, take a look at these staggering statistics.

  • Diabetes ranks as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults living with diabetes is unaware they have the disease
  • Approximately 110 million people 18 and over have prediabetes
  • More than 84% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it
  • Diabetes is the leading cause for NINE other serious health complications

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose comes from the food you eat is your body’s main source of energy. Insulin is a hormone that assists getting glucose from food into your cells for energy use. When your body’s insulin production isn’t functioning normally, glucose doesn’t reach your cells and ends up staying in your blood. Having too much glucose in your blood over time (diabetes) can cause health problems.

Types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes - your body does not make insulin and you must take insulin everyday to stay alive. It is typically diagnosed in children and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes - this is the most common type of diabetes and occurs when your body does not make or use insulin very well. Can develop at any age, but most often in middle-aged and older people.

Gestational diabetes

The form of diabetes develops during pregnancy for some women and most often goes away after the birth of the baby. Gestational diabetes does give a woman a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

What health problems are caused by diabetes?

When a person’s blood glucose levels are too high for too long, health problems like the below can occur.

  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Eye problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Foot problems
  • Dental disease

Symptoms of diabetes

Diabetes is called the ‘silent killer’ because for many with the disease there are no symptoms. When symptoms are present, the most common are:

  • Urinate (pee) a lot, often at night
  • Are very thirsty
  • Lose weight without trying
  • Are very hungry
  • Have blurry vision
  • Have numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Feel very tired
  • Have very dry skin
  • Have sores that heal slowly
  • Have more infections than usual

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Understanding your risk

The more you know about the risk factors, the more steps you can take to prevent or manage diabetes. Some risk factors can’t be changed, such as family history, age and ethnicity, but many lifestyle risks like diet, physical activity and weight can be. A person is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they are:

.Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Taking action

Diabetes Alert Day is meant to be a ‘wake-up call’ that shines light on how serious this disease is and the importance of knowing the risks that may affect you. The single most important thing you can do is to take a simple and fast diabetes risk test. Don’t become one of the millions of people who have diabetes or are at a high risk for diabetes and don’t even know it.