Oakwood urges education on Diabetes Alert Day

Dearborn, Mich. – March –  When it comes to treating diabetes, knowing if you have the condition is half the battle.

That’s why caregivers in the Oakwood Healthcare System (OHS) urge anyone who may be at risk for diabetes to get evaluated in conjunction with Diabetes Alert Day, which is March 22.

“Diabetes is a serious disease, particularly when it is left undiagnosed or untreated,” said Savanna Bianchi, RN, CDE of OHS. “Everyone should be aware of his or her risk of diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes—such as a mother, father, brother or sister with Type 2 diabetes, or if you had diabetes during pregnancy—you need to know that you are at an increased risk.”

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, including nearly 700,000 in Michigan. It’s estimated that nearly one third of the people with diabetes don’t know they have it. Up to 79 million adults may have pre-diabetes, which puts them at greater risk for developing the disease.

Risk factors include being overweight, inactive and older than 45. Diabetes is also more common in African Americans, people of African ancestry, Hispanics, Latinos, American Indians, Asian Americans, Alaskan natives and Pacific islanders.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to a host of other health problems, including heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and even death. Early diagnosis and treatment is the only way to delay or prevent those problems. Finding out if you are at risk for the disease is as simple as taking a risk assessment test, which can be found at the National Diabetes Education Program web site, http://ndep.nih.gov.

Oakwood has several programs designed to help people learn more about diabetes and to better live with the condition if they are diagnosed with it. The healthcare system offers lectures on diabetes management, prevention and proper nutrition and also provides glucose screenings in conjunction with lectures or at separate events. Oakwood offers classes for patients newly diagnosed with diabetes and a diabetes exercise therapy class, too.

Studies have shown that Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing a small amount of weight and becoming more active. Making healthy food choices and being active for at least 30 minutes five days a week are important action steps anybody can take, said Bianchi.

“The good news is that you can take action now to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by making—and maintaining—healthy lifestyle changes,” she said.

For more information, visit www.oakwood.org/diabetes-services. For information on specific diabetes programs, contact Colleen Cooper at Colleen.Cooper@oakwood.org or call (313) 586-5495.