Diabetes Mellitus is actually a group of diseases in which the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. In type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. In type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body does not use it properly.
More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, primarily type 2, and each year another 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed. This means that 10% of Americans have diabetes, but among seniors, that percentage jumps to 25%.
If you don’t think diabetes is serious, consider that it is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. In 2015, nearly 80,000 death certificates listed diabetes as the primary cause of death, and more than 250,000 death certificates listed it as a contributing cause of death.
The good news is that lifestyle is the primary risk factor in developing type 2 diabetes. And that means that you have the power to lower your risk.
Here are 10 things you need to know about diabetes and its consequences:
- One in every three people with diabetes does not know they have it.
- 37% of US adults have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormal, though not abnormal enough to be considered diabetes.
- Up to 30% of prediabetics will develop diabetes within five years.
- Smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of foot and leg amputations, accounting for 60% of all cases.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of all cases.
- Diabetics spend $2.31 on medical care for every $1 spent by nondiabetics.
- One in every ten healthcare dollars is spent caring for complications of diabetes.
- If present trends continue, as many as one in every three American adults will have diabetes by 2050.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program that allows frail seniors, many of whom are diabetic, the ability to live healthy lives in their own homes.
We do it by prioritizing preventive care, and by having everything our participants need onsite in our facility. Not just their doctors and not just their physical therapists, even their dentists, and even their hair stylists!
If they can’t get to our facility, we provide the transportation. We bring our participants to our center, as well as to any medical appointments they have with specialists at other locations. We even provide an assistant to go with the member if they need someone with them at the appointment.
We also help our participants keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range by providing nutritional guidance and serving healthy meals. We even deliver meals to their homes if required.
We are even able to encourage physical activity among this frail group, offering yoga, chair exercise — even line dancing — further bolstering their physical and emotional health.