Editorial by the Niagara County Department of Health
Every 19 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that, by the year 2050, one out of every three Americans will develop Type 2 diabetes if current trends continue.
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., and is responsible for many serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower-extremity amputation.
"Our families and communities cannot afford these kinds of terrible outcomes in terms of suffering and loss - especially when we know, given the right information, people can prevent or manage diabetes very well," Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton emphasized. "Knowing and understanding their risks is the first important step people can take to start building their arsenal against diabetes. My mission is to make sure people can access good public health information regarding risks, and can tap into resources to help counter those risks."
Many Americans are at a great risk for prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where the blood glucose is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diabetes. By screening, testing and then treating prediabetes, new cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed and even prevented.
However, nine out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know that they have it. If you are unsure if you are at risk, the Niagara County Department of Health can provide resources to help you determine your risk for diabetes or prediabetes.
The Niagara County Department of Health can work with you to help delay or even prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Our diabetes prevention program is a 16-week program that has two goals: Lose a modest amount of weight and keep it off, and increase your physical activity. Studies show attending the program can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, and by 71 percent for those over age 60.
For individuals who already have Type 2 diabetes, we also offer a diabetes self-management program that can help you learn to better manage your diabetes. Topics include what diabetes is, how it affects the body, why it is important to monitor your blood sugars, how to tell when your blood sugar is too low and what to do when it is. We also review a formula for a healthy meal plan, teach how to read nutrition labels, deal with difficult emotions, prevent complications and learn skin and foot care.
Join the Niagara County Department of Health and the American Diabetes Association to make healthy eating a fun and simple part of daily life. It is important to learn how to prepare and choose healthy foods without sacrificing flavor. The American Diabetes Association is encouraging Americans to share photos of their healthy lunch choices on National Healthy Lunch Day, Nov. 17. Upload pictures of your healthy lunch to social media using #MyHealthyLunch and promote the Eat Well, America! campaign.
If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, call the nursing division at 716-278-1900 and we can register you for one of our workshops. Workshops are held throughout Niagara County and we are continuously scheduling classes to meet the needs of the public. Both workshops are free to the public.