Know Your Risk Factors for Diabetes

Would you like to delay or prevent diabetes if you could? Would you like to prevent possible severe diabetes-related complications, including loss of sight or limbs?

Millions of Americans are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). It's up to you to take action.

The ADA has designated tomorrow as “American Diabetes Association Alert Day.” That should be the day people stop putting off knowing their risk for type 2 diabetes and take the ADA’s easy online assessment.

Type 2 diabetes also is known as “adult onset diabetes” to distinguish it from type 1, or "juvenile" diabetes. However, the obesity rates for children have skyrocketed and type 2 diabetes is now being diagnosed in people at younger ages.

Sometimes you might hear people refer to diabetes as “sugar.” Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the body not being able to produce enough insulin or cells ignoring insulin. When we eat, our bodies extract glucose (sugar) and other nutrients needed for fuel. After a meal, the glucose level rises and causes the pancreas to make insulin. Without enough insulin, glucose can not get into the cells but remains in the blood. Too much glucose in the blood is what can cause diabetic-related health problems, including problems in the eyes, feet, skin and organs.

If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, Sinai Hospital offers the Diabetes Resource Center.

"In our program, people learn how they can better handle their treatment regimen," says Sally Pinkstaff, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Diabetes Resource Center at Sinai. "Having the knowledge and skills to understand and take action against this disease are essential components to successfully living with diabetes."

Education is crucial when coping with diabetes. The specialized staff at the Diabetes Resource Center at Sinai spends quality one-on-one time with each participant, discussing his or her condition and creating an individualized action plan. There are also group sessions for ongoing instruction and support.

The center's services also include real-time glucose monitoring, medication and/or insulin training, nutritional counseling, and a focus on prevention of complications. The staff includes physicians, diabetes nurse educators, pharmacists and registered dietitians.

The ADA has awarded the Diabetes Self-Management Program at Sinai its Education Recognition Certificate for quality diabetes self-management education.

To make an appointment with a diabetes specialist, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premiere health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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