Archive for Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fighting diabetes: Health officials raise awareness of disease

Diabetes, nicknamed the silent killer, can be controlled with a variety of treatments.

Diabetes, nicknamed the silent killer, can be controlled with a variety of treatments.

November 17, 2010

Q: How widespread is diabetes?

A: Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes – including an estimated 6 million Americans who have it and don’t know it.

It is estimated that another 57 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 95 percent of all cases.

Q: How pervasive is diabetes in Kansas?

A: “In Kansas, the story is just as serious,” said John W. Mitchell, KDHE acting secretary. “About 8.5 percent of Kansas adults – roughly 180,000 – have been diagnosed with diabetes.”

Q: What is the danger of diabetes?

A: “Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems and complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness and amputation,” said Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer and director of KDHE’s division of health.

Q: What are some of the symptoms?

A: Someone who has diabetes might have some, all or none of the symptoms, which can include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, sudden vision changes, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, feeling very tired much of the time, very dry skin, sores that are slow to heal and more infections than usual.

Q: How can I avoid developing diabetes if I’m at risk?

A: The good news is that you can reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by becoming more active, maintaining a healthy weight, and making nutritious food choices. People with pre-diabetes who take such steps to change their lifestyles can lower their risk of advancing to full-blown diabetes by approximately 60 percent.

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