La Grange – Every year nearly 800,000 Americans discover they have diabetes. The disease is dramatically on the rise in all segments of the population – men, women, and children of every race, but the good news is that diabetes can be prevented and controlled.
Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital is offering free diabetes screenings Friday, Nov. 14, which is National Diabetes Day. Appointments are available 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the hospital, 5101 S. Willow Springs Road. Call (630) 856-7525 to schedule your appointment. Walk-ins also are welcome.
The screening is a simple finger stick that measures the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It takes just a few seconds and results are available immediately, said diabetes educator Anne Peters.
“Fifty-six million Americans are unaware that they have prediabetes,” Peters said. “That means if they don’t change their lifestyle, they’re on their way to becoming a diabetic. But the good news is that diabetes can be prevented with portion control, regular exercise and a healthful diet.”
Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital also offers a diabetes support group to encourage people living with diabetes to discuss their problems and find solutions together. Diabetics and their family and friends are invited. “Living with Diabetes,” a free class offered by the hospital, is designed for newly diagnosed diabetics and their families. Presented by a certified nurse diabetes educator and a registered dietitian, material covered in this two-hour class includes management of diabetes, how to recognize high and low blood sugars and how to treat them, the diabetic food plan, and the latest information on oral antidiabetic agents and insulin. The next class is scheduled at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in the hospital’s Dixon Education Center classroom A. Individual consultations with a nurse diabetes educator and a registered dietitian also are available with a doctor’s order.
People who are prediabetic today have an extremely high chance of developing full-blown diabetes within 10 years. And that increases the risk for other serious complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness.
Diabetes is a disorder of the endocrine system. Normally, the carbohydrates in food are broken down during digestion and converted to glucose. This simple sugar is a prime energy source for the body’s cells. Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, regulates the level of glucose in the bloodstream and allows it to be used by the cells. But diabetes disrupts this process. Either the pancreas produces insufficient insulin or the body fails to respond properly to the insulin it does produce. In either case, glucose cannot be absorbed by the cells, and a very high concentration of this sugar remains in the bloodstream.
There are two basic types of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn’t use insulin properly, accounts for 90 percent of all cases. Type 1 diabetes, which accounts for the remaining 10 percent, occurs when the body produces little or no insulin. Usually diagnosed in children and young adults, type 1 diabetes requires daily doses of insulin.
While the rate of type 1 diabetes has remained steady in recent decades, the number of people with type 2 diabetes has grown rapidly. It develops gradually and is commonly diagnosed in people over 40. Being overweight and having an inactive lifestyle are the main contributing factors to the diabetes epidemic. In the past few years, physicians have diagnosed an alarming number of children under age 20 with type 2 diabetes as well.