To the editor:
During October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, much needed publicity and fundraising occurred for a serious and life-changing condition. Now that November is here, an even more deadly and disabling condition, diabetes, needs our attention. Diabetes kills more women (and men) than breast cancer each year. In addition, diabetes has no cure and if current trends continue, one of three Americans will have diabetes by 2050.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and a perfect time to take action if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes. Don't know if you have diabetes or are at risk? Ask your healthcare provider to help you look at your risks and get a blood test. Type 2 diabetes can be present 7 to 10 years before symptoms show and unfortunately damage to blood vessels, kidneys and eyes may already be occurring because of uncontrolled blood sugars during this time. Elevated blood sugars can result in blindness, amputations, loss of kidney function, heart disease and stroke.
If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes take action by:
being active 30 minutes most days of the week,
watching what you eat and plan to make one change;
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eating smaller portions, drink more water or eat more vegetables;
knowing your numbers - A1c, cholesterol and blood pressure - and working with your healthcare provider to get them under control,
getting more support - see a registered dietitian and a diabetes educator; join a PATH workshop or weight loss group, or find an exercise buddy.
Diabetes is always serious. Don't ignore it or the risk factors. Take action right now to prevent the devastating consequences of uncontrolled diabetes.