"Army Wives" Supports Diabetes Awareness

    Diabetes affects millions of people and their families. In fact, more than 24 million Americans have diabetes. While roughly 18 million of these cases are diagnosed, more than 5 million of them are undiagnosed. If current trends continue, one in three Americans will develop diabetes sometime in their lifetime.

    Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the two major forms of diabetes. Of people diagnosed with diabetes, between 90 and 95 percent have type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. Diabetes is so prevalent, it is expected that within the next 20 years, more than 350 million people worldwide will have the disease.

    Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and blindness among adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with diabetes are two-to-four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people without diabetes.

    Know the Symptoms

    Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms listed below, see your doctor or medical provider right away.

    Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes include:

    • Frequent urination
    • Excessive thirst
    • Extreme hunger
    • Unusual weight loss
    • Increased fatigue
    • Blurry vision

    Other symptoms may include:
    • Dry, itchy skin or rashes
    • Overall fatigue and weakness
    • Numbness or tingling in extremities
    • Frequent cuts or infections that take a long time to heal

    Because symptoms can be overlooked, it is recommended that you get screened every three years beginning at age 45. If you have any of the risk factors listed below, you may need to be screened more frequently or at an earlier age.

    You may be more at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:
    • Are overweight
    • Are physically inactive
    • Are over the age of 45
    • Have high blood pressure
    • Have a family history of diabetes
    • Have a prior history of gestational diabetes (diabetes that appears during pregnancy) or had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
    • Have pre-diabetes (see below for more information)
    • Have cholesterol problems
    • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islander

    Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Prevented
    Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they usually have "pre-diabetes" -- that means their blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be called diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, and they are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

    People at high risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight, if they are overweight — that's 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.
    Three keys to success:
    • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week.
    • Eat smaller portions to reduce your daily calories.
    • Identify healthy coping and problem solving options to keep yourself on track.

    Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    For more information and to learn more about diabetes, visit: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint collaborative between CDC, NIH and over 200 partner organizations; the American Diabetes Association and the International Diabetes Federation.