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By Dawn Wivell

Connection Writer

Chances are you or someone you know has diabetes, because according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 18.2 million people in the United States, or 6.3 percent of the population, have diabetes. An estimated 13 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, and 5.2 million people (or nearly one-third) remain undiagnosed. Each day 2,200 new cases are diagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has called type II diabetes "an emerging epidemic."

When someone ahs diabetes his or her body does not produce opr properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

There are three types of diabetes: type I, type II and gestational diabetes. Type I diabetes accounts for only 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed woth the disease, whereas type II is more common. Gestational diabetes only occurs in pregnant women, and, according to About.com, women who have had gestational diabetes have a 20 to 50 percent chance of developing type II diabetes within five to ten years.

Jeffrey Freeman, D.O., an endocrinologist at the Pottstown Memmorial Medical Center, says the causes of diabetes are not clear, but certain gentic factors (especially in type II diabetes) are known to increase the risk of contracting the disease. Type I diabetes is more spordadic, without the genetic clues, and often has a sudden onset.

According to the ADA, some of the symptoms of diabetes include:

*Frewuent unination

*Excessive thrist

*Extreme hunger

*Unusual weight loss

*Increased fatigue


*Blurry vision

Dr. Freeman says more people are being diagnosed with diabetes today because of increased publid and physician awareness and the changing diagnosis risk of diabetes, adding that today there are various ways to detect diabetes early, including markers for complications, blood test and traditional tests. Another factor contributing to the increasing number of diagnosed patients m aybe the growing obesity rates and more sedentary lifestyles.

The life-changing complicatons associate with the disease, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney disease, are often preventable. Dr. Freeman says that early detection of diabetes can decrease the chances of developing the complications of diabetes, and that factors, such as obesity, can speed up the onset of the disease. Reducing body weight and fat, eating healthy and exercising are the best treatments and preventions for type II diabetes. The ADA states, a five to 10 percent reduction in body weight, along with 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, can reduce your chances of developing type II diabetes by 58 percent.

In recongnition of American Diabetes Month (November) the ADA and the American College of Cardiology are working to increase awareness of the link between diabetes and heart disease through a program called Make the Link! Make the Link! stresses that managing diabetes should include managing blood pressure and cholesterol as well as controlling blood glusose.

The Pottstown Memorial Medical Center is hold ing their annual diabetes holiday dinner for individuals with diabetes Dec. 9, at 5:50 p.m. If you are interested in attending the dinner, contact Lois Miller at 610-327-7463

The hospital also presents a five-part series of classes, Living with Diabetes: The Outpatient Diabetes Education Program, at various times of the year. For more information about the classes, call their PATH (Positive Approach to Total Health) line at 610-327-7284. You can also find out more about diabetes at the ADA's Web site, diabetes.org

Dawn Wivell is a writer for The Community Connection, a small local publication.

Edited by TalonRider
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Being a diabetic myself, I thought I would post this story. I hope this article helps others. I don't mind telling you that when I first started showing some of the signs of diabetes, it took 2 months before I saw a list of the symptoms and to get a doctor that were accepting new patients. During that time period, I went from 210 pounds down to 170 pounds.

During that time, I was so thirsty, I was alway drinking water, which made my stomach full, so I couldn't eat as much as normal. I didn't sleep well at night because every 2 hours I was getting up to goto the bathroom.

So if you exhibit any of the symptoms listed in the article, Please, go see your doctor. Don't put yourself thru what I did.



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