Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are raising awareness of the risk factors of diabetes during National Diabetes Awareness Month, which is recognized in November.
“Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. However, greater awareness and better management of risk factors are allowing people with diabetes to live longer, healthier lives with fewer complications," Neuhaus said.
More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and over 84 million US adults—one third—have prediabetes. Almost 1.7 million New Yorkers (10.5 percent) have diabetes and recent data indicates that 12.3 percent of Orange County residents report being diagnosed with prediabetes and 8.9 percent report having been diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly 25 percent of adults are not aware that they have diabetes and 90 percent are unaware that they have prediabetes.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent of diagnosed cases. Risk factors are:
• Being overweight
• Being age 45 or older
• Being physically inactive
• Having a family history of diabetes
Health disparities exist with African Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans at higher risk for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is more prevalent in children, teens and young adults and whites are more likely than African Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans to develop Type 1 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes, diabetes while pregnant, can occur if you are overweight or previously gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
• Frequent urination, particularly at night
• Blurry vision
• Dry skin
• Sores that heal slowly
• More infections than usual
“Diabetes can also cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if it is not controlled," Dr. Gelman said. "Eating healthy, getting more physical activity and losing weight can lower your risk of developing diabetes. A simple blood sugar test can determine if you have prediabetes. Ask your doctor if you should be tested."
As part of the Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan, the Orange County Department of Health, local hospitals and health community chose to prevent chronic disease as part of their work for the next three years. Together, the plan addresses some of the protective factors for diabetes such as increasing opportunities for physical activity and increasing access to healthy foods.
For additional information regarding diabetes, log onto https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html.