National Diabetes Month: What should you know about managing diabetes?

Maria Belen Naranjo, MD
DHR Health Diabetes and Endocrinology Institute

November is National Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) is too high. Diabetes can damage the eyes, kidneys, and nerves and result in non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, blindness, and heart disease. In addition, diabetes is linked to some types of cancer.

The prevalence of diabetes has gradually increased over the past 10 years, both in Texas and nationally. In 2017, an estimated 2,323,220 people in Texas had diabetes, which represented 11.4% of the adult population. Additionally, approximately 23.8% of people who had diabetes were not aware they had it.

The total direct medical expenses for diagnosed diabetes in Texas in 2012 was $18.9 billion, while indirect costs for things such as increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, or inability to work as a result of diabetes was an additional $6.7 billion. Texas is among the 10 states responsible, collectively, for over 50% of the national cost of diabetes.

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational (diabetes while pregnant). Type 2 diabetes is the most common. If you have one or more of the following risk factors, it is critical that you consult with your primary care provider for diabetes screening: smoking, overweight/obese, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/Hispanic adults, family history of diabetes, and/or diabetes during pregnancy. Type 2 diabetes can be managed through a combination of lifestyle modifications–such as weight loss–an increase in physical activity, improving dietary choices, and taking medications prescribed by a specialist.

DHR Health is here to serve patients in the Valley with diabetes as your healthcare team. While it takes a team to manage diabetes, always remember that you are the most important person on that team as you intentionally manage your diabetes care.

For more information on diabetes or to speak to one of our experts, please call DHR Health Diabetes and Endocrinology Institute at (956) 362-3720 or visit us at 505 Angelita St. Suite 14, Weslaco, TX 78599.