WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - November is National Diabetes Month. Thursday is also World Diabetes Day. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the U.S. Health Officials say one in ten people will develop diabetes.
Diabetes is characterized by high levels of blood sugar resulting from defects in producing insulin. According to the CDC, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in our country. There is currently no cure, but there are ways to manage it.
“It’s important to get educated," said Linda Wooley, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator with New Hanover Regional Medical Center. "That’s probably one of the underutilized services. We do have diabetes education at various locations in the community in the hospital and it’s important to find out there’s still a lot of people that have diabetes that don’t know how to put their foods together and what exactly they can do to help.”
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 is far more common and happens when cells in your body are unable to use insulin effectively. That’s why it’s so important to take care of our bodies and watch what we eat.
“When we eat food, of course, blood sugars go up and depending on what we eat, blood sugars may stay up really high instead of trying to return back to baseline as they should,” said Wooley. “It’s kind of what kind of combinations of foods are we putting together in a meal make a really big difference.”
Another key part of managing diabetes is fitness. The American Diabetes Association has tips for exercising with diabetes.
“It’s an epidemic," said Wooley. "We’ve got 30 million people in the U.S. that currently have diabetes and tons of people that are unaware that they have diabetes and that makes more people that are at risk and just don’t even know what the risks are.”
The World Diabetes Organization says they want one million people to test their risk of type 2 diabetes by the end of the month.
For more information on diabetes and to learn what our community offers for those who have it and for those at risk, click here.