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Diabetes a growing concern for North Dakotans

By Staff | Mar 23, 2018

Did you know that by the time many people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, their bodies have lost about half the ability to make enough insulin to fit the needs of their body?

Diabetes is a growing health concern across communities in North Dakota. Not only does it affect a person’s quality of life, it is a costly condition for individuals, insurers and health systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 8.1% of North Dakota adults have diabetes-that’s more than 50,000 citizens! More concerning is that 35% of North Dakota adults, over 190,000 people, have prediabetes and are at risk for type 2 diabetes at some point in their life. Diabetes can be costly, lost work hours, the cost of medical appointments and medications are expensive. Additional CDC statistics show the average medical expenditures for people with diagnosed diabetes were about $13,700 per year with about $7,900 directly attributed to diabetes.

The good news is there are ways individuals can change the course of their health and reduce the severity of their condition or avoid developing type 2 diabetes altogether. Just by losing weight and increasing physical activity, there is the potential for an individual to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has established a “Diabetes Alert Day” campaign that serves as a “wake-up call” to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes. This year’s “Diabetes Alert Day” will be observed on Tuesday, March 27. This is an opportunity for people to join the movement to Stop Diabetes by taking the Diabetes Risk Test and finding out if they, or their loved ones, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Learn more about Diabetes Alert Day at www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/communication-programs/ndep/partner-community-organization-information/diabetes-alert-day.

Many people have been told they have “borderline” diabetes, meaning they don’t meet the criteria for actual diabetes diagnosis, but the blood sugar is a little higher than normal. That is now called prediabetes. “I wouldn’t call that borderline, I would call that a red flag,” states Lisa Thorp, RN, CDE, “because that means that their bodies are already struggling to keep up with their insulin requirements.” Thorp encourages people to reconsider what they have been told. If they have been told they have borderline diabetes or prediabetes, that is the perfect point to make lifestyle changes to keep it from progressing to diabetes.

People in the Rugby community can take their actions one step further by becoming more educated about diabetes and how it can affect their health and the health of their loved ones. Heart of America Medical Center is offering FREE diabetes self-management classes for anyone who would like to learn more about how to manage diabetes. “The goal of these classes is to empower people to have the confidence to manage their own diabetes and make the necessary lifestyle changes to improve their health,” states Thorp. “Kathy Brandt and DeDe Heidlebaugh are committed to helping people learn more about how to manage their diabetes.”

There are six hands-on, interactive sessions where participants learn about a variety of topics that help them understand the importance of diet, exercise, keeping regular physical exams, eye and foot exams, managing medications and much more. “The goal is not perfection; the goal is improvement!”, adds Thorp.

To learn more about diabetes education opportunities in Rugby, contact Kathy Brandt at Heart of America Medical Center, (701) 776-5261. FREE classes are offered at various sites around ND, to learn how to offer FREE classes in another community or organization, contact Lisa Thorp, Quality Health Associates of ND, at 701-989-6241, or lthorp@qualityhealthnd.org.

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