ANNAPOLIS, MD. (October 31, 2003) – November is a particularly hard month for diabetics. It brings two challenges. First, the days become shorter and colder, creating a challenge to exercising outside. Second, traditional foods high in fat and carbohydrate become more abundant starting with Thanksgiving.
In honor of National Diabetes Month this November, Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Diabetes Center is hosting a Diabetes Town Meeting on Nov. 20 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second floor of the Sajak Pavilion. The goal of the meeting is to make the public aware that diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the U.S., but that there are several ways to manage the disease and minimalize its long-term affects. Attendees will learn how to control diabetes, prevent or reduce the severity of complications, and help identify symptoms and risk factors.
Diabetes results when the body does not make enough insulin or properly respond to it. A person with diabetes has trouble controlling the rise in blood sugar or blood glucose that occurs after eating.
Since a person with diabetes is at risk for complications, great care must be made to have regularly scheduled visits with health care providers equipped to detect and treat complications. Many people with diabetes know to schedule a visit to their doctor and dentist, but not the importance of visiting an eye or foot doctor. Once a problem has been identified, many steps may be available to prevent the complication from worsening.
People with diabetes need to manage their blood glucose with diet, exercise, and oftentimes medication. If diet and exercise are neglected during the winter months, the person with diabetes may have rising blood glucose levels. For some people with diabetes, gaining weight worsens insulin resistance, causing a rise in blood glucose. High blood glucose, or hyperglycemia, can affect a diabetic’s immediate and long-term health. Complications result from damage to small blood vessels, large blood vessels and nerves and can include eye disease, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, non-healing wounds, and possible amputations from wounds.
There are 17 million people with diabetes in the United States. More than 86,000 Americans have amputations resulting from foot ulcers or chronic wounds and up to 1.5 million Americans with diabetes suffer from chronic wounds. Many people do not know they have diabetes, so it is imperative to identify people with undiagnosed diabetes. Doctors estimate that nearly 50% of amputations could have been prevented through a combination of awareness, prevention, and intervention.
The following is a list of questions for the public to help identify the symptoms and risks for diabetes:
If a person answers yes to three or more questions of these questions, he should call a doctor to get a thorough physical examination.
AAMC’s Diabetes Center assists people with Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes who are newly diagnosed or want to update their knowledge and improve their self-management skills. Adult and children’s diabetes support groups are also offered as well as quarterly foot screenings are available by appointment through 443-481-4000. Both the support group meetings and screenings are free. AAMC also runs a free diabetes clinic at the Annapolis Outreach Center in Annapolis on the first Friday of every month, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. To reach the clinic, call 410-263-1400.
For more information about the AAMC Diabetes Center or to register for the town meeting, call askAAMC at 800-636-8773 or 443-481-4000 or go to the website at www.askAAMC.org.
Also located at AAMC is the Wound Care Center which assists people with diabetes in healing chronic wounds. Approximately 60 percent of diabetics suffer from a complication called neuropathy, or nerve damage. People with diabetes may be unaware of a wound on their foot because of numbness. People with wounds that do not show improvement in 4 weeks, or any progress in healing in 8 weeks, should be referred to the Wound Center for treatment. The goal of the center is to identify the source of the poor healing and to treat the wound, preventing the loss of tissue or amputation. For more information about the AAMC Wound Care Center, call 443-481-5187.
Anne Arundel Medical Center is a not-for-profit regional healthcare provider.