Diabetes: A Major 21st Century Public Health Issue

Diabetes: A Major 21st Century Public Health Issue

Diabetes: A Major 21st Century Public Health Issue

Despite the fact that most people know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes, whether it be themselves, a family member, a coworker, a dear friend or anyone else, we don’t typically think of it as an epidemic; but it’s quickly approaching epidemic levels throughout the world.1 As such, it’s crucial for individuals to familiarize themselves with the various causes, risks, symptoms and available treatment options associated with this increasingly common condition.

At Fulton County Medical Center, we are dedicated to providing members throughout our community with the important diabetes-related information they need to make healthy life choices that could help prevent them from developing diabetes in the first place.

Statistics About Diabetes

  • In 2010, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.2
  • Roughly 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year.2
  • In 2012, 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population), had diabetes.2
  • Diabetes is almost four times as common as all types of cancer combined.4
  • Approximately 208,000 Americans under the age of 20 are diagnosed diabetics.2
  • The total cost of care administered to patients diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. in 2012 was $245 billion.2

A General Overview of the Different Types of Diabetes

Type 1

Only 5% of all people with diabetes have type 1, which is typically diagnosed during childhood and is the result of someone’s body not being able to produce insulin – the hormone our bodies need to effectively guide glucose (a crucial energy source) from the bloodstream into the cells.3 People with type 1 diabetes struggle with hypoglycemia, a problem in which their body’s blood sugar (glucose) levels are lower than normal and must be raised to a healthy level through consumption.

Type 2

The majority of diagnosed diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes, of which one of the primary risk factors is obesity.1 People with type 2 diabetes struggle with hyperglycemia, a problem in which their body’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal and must be lowered to a healthy level with the help of insulin.

Unlike type 1 which is characterized by an inability to produce insulin, people with type 2 diabetes are capable of producing this hormone, however their bodies either do not produce enough or the amount that is produced is used improperly and inefficiently. This phenomenon is referred to as insulin resistance, and it is the reason type 2 diabetics have such difficulty regulating their blood glucose levels.5

Gestational Diabetes

Around the 24th week of pregnancy, many women develop what’s known as gestational diabetes. When a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it in no way means she had diabetes prior to becoming pregnant nor does it mean she will have diabetes after she gives birth. It is, however, very important for women with this diagnosis to carefully follow their doctor’s recommendations on how to maintain their blood sugar levels to ensure both mom and baby stay healthy over the course of the pregnancy.6

Why Diabetes Education Is Important

Based solely on the statistics and information shared above, it should be clear just how important it is for people to be informed about diabetes, especially type 2, being that its onset can be prevented or at the very least delayed.

There are countless other statistics that illustrate just how prevalent and significant this issue is on a global scale, all of which should make a strong case to local, federal and global institutions and governing bodies as to just how important it is to dedicate more research and resources to finding a cure for this disease once and for all.

If you are living with diabetes, be it type 1 or type 2, it’s important to become familiar with the medical, support and education services available in your area. For those in McConnellsburg and the surrounding areas, Fulton County Medical Center is your source for a wide array of diabetes-related education services, all provided in a caring atmosphere so you and your family can feel welcomed and at ease as you learn about the many ways you can start improving your overall quality of life.

To learn more about diabetes and how you and your family can start making lifestyle changes that have the potential to help delay or entirely prevent your risk of developing diabetes, schedule an appointment with our compassionate medical providers today.




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