New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which prevents the body from processing food for energy is called. This condition affects how the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin or how it reacts to the hormone. Depending on the type of diabetes it can be controlled by diet, weight loss, oral medication or injected or inhaled insulin. In this country 8.5 percent of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes

When someone has diabetes the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use its own insulin like it should. This causes sugar to build up in the blood, which is why many people call this disease “sugar”. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, gum disease, kidney failure, hypertension, foot complications such as neuropathy, skin conditions, stroke, erectile dysfunction, delayed wound healing and blindness.

There are three types of diabetes:

1. Type 1 Diabetes – In this type the body does not produce insulin. This only accounts for 10 percent of all diabetes cases. It is often called juvenile diabetes, early onset diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. This type of diabetes usually develops during teen years or early adulthood. Those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin the rest of their life.

2. Type 2 Diabetes – In this type of diabetes the cells in the body do not react to insulin or the body does not produce enough insulin. Approximately 90 percent of the population has this type. Depending on the severity some people can control this type through weight loss and exercise. However as the person gets older or the disease progresses many may end up on some sort of insulin control.

3. Gestational Diabetes – This type affects women while they are pregnant. Undiagnosed gestational diabetes can lead to complications during child birth and the child may be larger than it should be. Only 10-20 percent of these women will need to take some form of medication.

We have all heard the term pre-diabetes, this simply means that a person’s “sugar” level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetic.

Some myths about diabetes are as follows:

1. You cannot exercise if you have diabetes; in reality the opposite is true. Exercise helps to control blood sugar levels as well as body weight and your cardiovascular health.

2. Overweight people always develop type 2 diabetes; this is not true, the majority of overweight people do not develop diabetes.

3. Diabetes is not serious; actually the life expectancy of a person with diabetes is five to ten years shorter than most, 2/3 of diabetic patients die early of heart disease or stroke.

4. Children can outgrow diabetes; most children with diabetes have type one and are insulin dependent, they will NOT out grow the disease.

5. If you eat too much sugar you will become diabetic; people with type 1 diabetes develop the disease because their immune system destroys the insulin producing beta cells. A diet high in overall calories leading to a high body mass index raises the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Persons with a history of diabetes in their family also may be at increased risk for the disease.

6. High blood sugars are fine in some people; high blood sugar levels are NOT ok in anyone.

7. Diets for diabetics are different from other people; all of us can follow a diabetic diet, it is a healthy diet. There is no need to buy special diabetic foods.

8. People with diabetes get colds and illnesses more often; if your diabetes is under control you are NOT at more risk to become sick.

9. If you are on insulin your diabetes is more severe; insulin helps control diabetes that is not under control by diet or oral medications. It does not have anything to do with how severe your disease is.

On Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. please join us at the New Britain Senior Center, 55 Pearl St., for an informational program on diabetes. Ann Lanza RD, Certified Diabetes Educator from Novo Nordisc will be available to answer all your pressing questions. This program is free of charge to all who are interested.