November is American Diabetes Month. Let’s use this month to understand one of South Carolina’s most prevalent chronic diseases. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Type 2, the most common form of diabetes, occurs when the body does not use insulin properly. Gestational diabetes occurs in some pregnant women when hormones may block the mother’s insulin, causing insulin resistance.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Feeling very thirsty
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Weight loss (type 1)
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
- Feeling very hungry even though you have eaten
Diabetes can be very expensive to manage. Use these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find ways to save on medicine. By successfully managing your diabetes, you could prevent other onset chronic diseases and health issues, such as kidney disease, heart disease, or vision impairment, and amputation.
Diabetes in South Carolina
According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment:
- The prevalence of adults in South Carolina diagnosed with prediabetes increased from 6.7% in 2011 to 9.4% in 2016 (Figure 6.3).
- Although there was not a steady pattern in the percentage of adults with diabetes in South Carolina from 2011 to 2016, South Carolina’s diabetes rates were consistently higher than the United States (Figure 6.4).
- Adults aged 65 or older experienced diabetes at the highest rate of other age demographics with 26.1%.
- In 2016, the prevalence of diabetes was higher in non-Hispanic Blacks (16.9%) than in non-Hispanic Whites (11.7%), and higher in those with an annual household income of less than $25,000 than those with an annual household income of $50,000 or more (9.4%).
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes, sometimes called “borderline diabetes,” is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) level is elevated, but not in the diabetes range yet. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or experience a stroke. Your chances of having prediabetes increase if you:
- Are 45 or older
- Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander
- Have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
- Are overweight
- Are physically inactive
- Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
- Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- Had diabetes during pregnancy
- Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Do you think you could have prediabetes? Take the risk test and find out. It only takes a few minutes and you can find the test online at https://www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/takethetest/.
There are ways to combat diabetes with lifestyle changes. By increasing physical activity, eating a balanced diet and quitting tobacco use, you may prevent your chances of getting diabetes. If your physician has diagnosed you with prediabetes, you can also enroll in a National Diabetes Prevention Program, which has shown to reduce your chances of developing diabetes by 58%. For more information and links to resources, visit https://www.scdhec.gov/health-professionals/clinical-guidance-resources/diabetes-data-and-reports.