In the United States November is “Diabetes Awareness Month” to coincide with World Diabetes Day (WDD) which is celebrated worldwide on November 14th. As podiatrists we frequently see diabetic patients for routine foot care to help ensure they have healthy, happy feet.
Every year in the United States over 3 million people are diagnosed with either diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the bodies ability to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone normally produced by the pancreas that helps the body to absorb glucose (sugar).
The symptoms of diabetes are varied, so it often goes undiagnosed for some time while the patient experiences the symptoms. Symptoms of diabetes include increased hunger, increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and even blurred vision. Frequently patients suffering from diabetes will experience weight loss or gain. Wounds can be slower to heal than normal. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should schedule an appointment with your doctor, who will perform a blood test to confirm if you have diabetes.
Treatments for diabetes can vary greatly depending on the patient. Usually your doctor will prescribe a change in diet help control glucose intake. Physical activity and weight loss are also an important part of self care for diabetics. Depending on the severity of your diabetes your doctor may prescribe insulin injections, statin drugs, blood thinners or other anti-diabetic medications.
Often your primary care physician will refer you to an Endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of diseases that affect the endocrine systems of the body, for continued care of your diabetes. Frequently your doctor will also recommend that you visit a nutritionist to help treat your diabetes with the proper nutrition.
If you think you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of diabetes you can take a prediabetes online screening test provided by the CDC online here.