I know Diabetes Alert Day is not one most people mark on their calendar as being remarkable, but as a diabetes educator and long-time nurse, I would like to encourage more people to pay attention to their risk of developing diabetes.
Most people can live for years without ever knowing they have diabetes because human bodies are very good at compensating for elevated sugar levels. Uncontrolled diabetes impacts every organ in your body because it creates “sticky” blood vessel linings to which cholesterol and fat can adhere, creating future problems with circulation. This impaired circulation can lead to loss of vision, loss of limb, heart disease and generally make you feel bad.
On a daily basis, I see many people who were admitted to the hospital for infections, heart disease, routine outpatient surgery, and other acute illnesses and injuries. It is during the treatment for these illnesses that patients often find out they are diabetic.
Diabetes is a scary diagnosis for most people because the tragedies of uncontrolled diabetes are the stories you hear most about – a limb or life lost. You much less frequently hear about the person who has diabetes and does all the things they should, including eating right, exercising, managing weight, checking blood sugars, etc., living a happy, healthy, long life. Whatever the individual’s circumstances, diabetes is a progressive disease and requires close monitoring by the patient and the healthcare provider in partnership.
Early diagnosis of pre-diabetes as well as diabetes is one of the keys to living a full life with diabetes. This is why I encourage everyone to celebrate American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day on March 26th by taking the Diabetes Risk Test .
Also, if you have any questions or concerns about diabetes, please contact WakeMed Certified Diabetes Educators by calling the Adult Diabetes Management Program at 919-350-7292. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Carol V. White BSN, RN-BC, CDE is a certified diabetes educator working with adult patients on WakeMed Raleigh Campus.