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Putnam: Type 2 diabetes is preventable

By Tami Putnam
Nov. 5, 2017 at 4 a.m.


Are you aware that November is National Diabetes Month? Did you know that Type 2 diabetes is one of many major chronic diseases in our country? Did you know it is preventable?

Of course, if it is prevalent in your family, you need to be aware and constantly working on ways to prevent the onset of diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association has a quick, seven-question online test to determine if you are at risk: tinyurl.com/kkss4m2/. If you are unable to go online and would like to take the test, call our office, and we will send you a copy.

The American Diabetes Association provides a vast amount of information regarding diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form.

In Type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But over time, your pancreas isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications (pills) and insulin.

When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:

Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.

Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

Some people with Type 2 can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active. But your doctor may also need to prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. Type 2 usually gets worse over time — even if you don't need medications at first, you may later on.

Some groups, such as blacks and Latinos, have a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes than others.

I have stated in the past that my stepfather lived with Type 2 diabetes for years. He is no longer with us, and I firmly believe it was due to the diabetes.

One of our Texas A&M AgriLife instructors designed a free online self-paced course on the basics of diabetes self-management. This is a one-hour online lesson for people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It is called "Diabetes 1st Step: Live Healthy, Be Hopeful." You can access this online by registering at tinyurl.com/ycfy4qxd.

Gregg County is teaming with Harrison County for a diabetes conference in 2018, so stay tuned to the News-Journal so you are aware of the information regarding time, date and place.

And be concerned now about your health by exercising, eating healthy and taking care of your body. Don't wait until you have been diagnosed.

For people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, keep a journal so you are aware of your daily intake of foods and medication. Visit your physician regularly and have your blood sugar checked so you know how your body is absorbing insulin.

— Tami Putnam is a Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent for Gregg County.

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