Diabetes Network News | Published November 10, 2008 | Written by Amy Leffard, RN, diabetes educator

American Diabetes Month Urges Awareness

American Diabetes Month Urges Awareness Medical Center plans events to increase knowledge and compliance

November is American Diabetes Month, a time to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of proper diabetes control. Nationwide, 7.8% of the population have diabetes, 5.7 million of these people are undiagnosed; 17.9 million people have received a diabetes diagnosis.

People who have diabetes balance healthy eating, medications, daily physical activity, as well as monitoring blood glucose. Most do these things not because their physician tells them to do it, but because they want to be as healthy as possible and prevent the long-term complications that can come from uncontrolled diabetes.

Long-term complications can affect all organs of the body such as eye, nerve, kidney, heart, and liver. Keeping blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol in control can make a difference in reducing these complications as well as the risk for heart attack or stroke.

In addition, people with diabetes who smoke increase their risk for complications because smoking itself also causes much of the same.

  • Both smoking and diabetes can cause blood flow problems to the legs & feet increasing the need for amputations
  • Diabetes may cause impotence and smoking makes it worse
  • High levels of LDL the bad cholesterol damage blood vessels and both diabetes and smoking will cause this
  • Having diabetes puts a person at 24 times the risk for heart attack and stroke than someone without diabetes and smoking increases this risk
  • Both diabetes and smoking increase blood pressure
  • Smoking has been recently found to be a risk factor for diabetes – so if you smoke but do not have diabetes, smoking can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes to three times that of a non-smoker

So those with diabetes who smoke should seek help in quitting. For smokers without a diagnosis of diabetes, quitting now will reduce the risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes. Quitting smoking is not easy, in fact it may take 6 - 10 tries before a smoker is successful, but there are powerful reasons to quit especially if you have diabetes. Ask your physician today how you can quit.

Quit Smoking Resources:

Pennsylvania Free Quitline: 1.800.QUIT.NOW or 1.800.784.8669

In celebration of November as American Diabetes Month, the Medical Center has many diabetes activities and events planned:

Choose to Be More Active group walk at the Medical Center Friday, November 14, 12:15 p.m., Entrance D. Call 231.7095 for more information. Wear something blue to promote World Diabetes Day and take a step to prevent diabetes

Why should I care about diabetes? Lunch and Learn Monday, November 17, 12 1 p.m. Conference room 1. No charge, open to the community. Limited space available, call 231.7095 to register.

Diabetes Self Management classes New classes forming in January, call 231.7095 to register. The 4-week series of classes teaches those with diabetes and their loved ones how to live with and manage the disease. The classes are taught by diabetes educators, physical therapists, and registered dietitians and recognized by the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes Support Group Thursday, November 13, 6-7 p.m., Conference rooms 1&2, Entrance D The support group is open to those with diabetes and their loved ones. Call 231.7095 for more information.

Amy Leffard, RN, is the diabetes educator at Mount Nittany Medical Center. She may be reached at 231.7095 or aleffard@mountnittany.org.

The Foundation’s 21st Annual Golf Tournament raised $150,000 for the new Cancer Center.

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