HOUSTON – November is Diabetes Awareness Month. The CDC states that more than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. In Texas, more than 2.8 million people are living with the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.
KPRC 2 joins the fight against diabetes and aims to spark conversation, bring awareness and stress the importance of getting checked.
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is the shortened form of its full name diabetes mellitus. According to the CDC, it is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should.
THERE ARE THREE MAIN TYPES OF DIABETES
Type 1 Diabetes
Approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes
About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (but more and more in children, teens, and young adults).
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health problems.
Go here to learn more about the different types of diabetes.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Type 1 Diabetes
Known risk factors include:
- Family history: Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 1 diabetes.
- Age: You can get type 1 diabetes at any age, but it’s more likely to develop when you’re a child, teen, or young adult.
In the United States, whites are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than African Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans.
Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
You’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you:
- Have prediabetes
- Are overweight
- Are 45 years or older
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Are physically active less than 3 times a week
- Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)
You’re at risk for developing gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) if you:
- Had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy
- Have given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- Are overweight
- Are more than 25 years old
- Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Have a hormone disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
Go here to learn more about diabetes risk factors.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
If you have any of the following diabetes symptoms, see your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested:
- 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
Go here to learn more about symptoms associated with each type of diabetes.
HOW CAN DIABETES BE PREVENTED?
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy food and being active.
Go here to learn more about lifestyle changes that could decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
ARE YOU AT RISK?
Take the type 2 diabetes risk test here.
I HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH DIABETES, WHERE CAN I TURN FOR HELP?
The DAWN Center provides free diabetes self-management education and many other health-related services to Houstonians.
There is a diabetes support group in Northwest Houston that meets the last Tuesday of every other month. Call 713-867-4515 for more information.
Call 281-588-2010 for a diabetes education class schedule, and learn more about what else HCA has to offer diabetes patients here.
The Houston Diabetes Resource Center is another place to turn for education and help.
HOW CAN I JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST DIABETES?
The American Diabetes Association offers several ways that you can help support research, including these promotions.
Make a donation to the American Diabetes Association here.
Donate to the Children’s Diabetes Foundation here.
Here are other ways to get involved.
THINKING ABOUT GETTING INKED TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT?
If you’re one of the millions living with diabetes, or if you simply want to show your support for those who are--check out Diabetes Advocacy for diabetes and awareness tattoo ideas.