Every year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes in the United States and many additional cases go undiagnosed. In South Carolina, the prevalence of diabetes is about 20 percent higher than the national average.
Diabetes can lead to other serious health conditions, including stroke, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, swelling and edema. Women who had gestational diabetes and their children are more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Aside from all of the health risks, diabetes is more expensive. In fact, the average medical expenses among those with diagnosed diabetes is over two times higher than those without diabetes. The good news is that diabetes can be delayed or prevented by eating healthy and staying active.
On Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, DHEC staff from the Mills Jarrett complex in Columbia walked together in observance of World Diabetes Day. (The walk was postponed from the actual date of observance — Nov. 14 — due to rain.) The first sunny day all week, it was a great opportunity to get outside and learn more about World Diabetes Day, which occurs during National Diabetes Month.
The World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on a theme that runs for one or more years and the theme for 2018-19 is Family and Diabetes, which fits in nicely with the theme for National Diabetes Month this year, Promoting Health After Gestational Diabetes.
Employees received different “did you know…” facts about diabetes. While the facts will not teach them everything they need to know about testing or warning signs, the information will at least get the conversation started and hopefully encourage employees to not only think about their health, but the health of their family. With the holiday season in full swing, it is a good time to think about ways to stay healthy during celebrations and have open conversations with family members about health.
For some tips on staying healthy over the holidays, consider the following:
- Avoid overeating. You can eat a healthy meal before going to a party or practice self-control by only indulging in your favorite treats in moderation.
- Stay active. Either keep up your normal routine or even try incorporating walks into your gatherings.
- Keep your stress levels lower. Remember to take time for yourself and relax both your body and mind.
To learn more about World Diabetes Day, visit worlddiabetesday.org and for more information on American Diabetes Month, visit diabetes.org/in-my-community/american-diabetes-month.