It’s diabetes month: Do you know your status?

Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.

This month is American Diabetes Month and Thursday is World Diabetes Day, so if you have not asked yourself if you are at risk, then this may be a good time to arm yourself with information about this chronic disease.

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A poster at the Alachua County Health Department offers tips on managing diabetes.

AIDA MALLARD/Special to the Guardian



* What: Diabetes Awareness Workshop.

* When: 1-3 p.m. Friday.

* Where: HealthStreet, 2401 SW Archer Road.

* Information: Call 352-294-4880.

* Increased urination (especially at night) and increased thirst and hunger.
Increased fatigue.

* Blurry vision.

* Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal.

* Weight loss, even though you are eating more (Type 1).

* Tingling, pain, numbness in the hands and/or feet (Type 2).

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the U.S., or 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes, with 18.8 million residents diagnosed and 7 million undiagnosed.

Dr. John Colon, director of medical services at the Alachua County Health Department, said diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormal levels of sugar in the body.

There are three types of diabetes:

* Type 1: Usually diagnosed in children and young adults and previously known as juvenile diabetes. The body does not produce insulin, which is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy that is needed for daily life.

* Type 2: Adult-onset diabetes and the most common form of diabetes. The body does not use insulin properly.

* Gestational: During pregnancy, many women develop gestational diabetes. It does not mean diabetes before conception or that it will continue after birth.

"Diabetes is so bad because it is the leading cause of kidney failure and leads to non-traumatic amputations of limbs and to blindness. The symptoms get worse, if untreated," said Colon. "You can live with diabetes with treatment."

Risk factors of Type 2 diabetes include the following:

* Having pre-diabetes, which may be called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG).

* Being 45 or older.

* Being overweight.

* Not exercising regularly.

* Having high blood pressure.

* Having low HDL, also known as "good" cholesterol, and/or high levels of triglycerides.

* Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives).

* Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth.

The University of Florida HealthStreet program will be hosting a Diabetes Awareness Workshop from 1-3 p.m. Friday at HealthStreet at 2401 SW Archer Road.

Darryl Pastor, HealthStreet program manager, said the workshop, which will be presented by UF graduate physical therapy students, will offer an overview of diabetes, including prevention, risk factors, how to manage it if you have it, sensation testing, diet and exercise, and other information. Healthy snacks also will be provided.

"Diabetes is at an epidemic rate," said Pastor, adding that the purpose of the workshop is to promote better understanding of the disease due to environmental and generic factors.

Ginny Bruzzese, nurse clinic coordinator at UF, said the UF Mobile Clinic can test and prescribe a treatment for diabetes. The test offered is the A1C, which indicates a person's average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrying protein into blood cells.

"It's a finger-prick blood test with results in five minutes," Bruzzese said.

In east Gainesville, the UF Mobile Clinic will stop at the following sites in November:

* Bartley Temple United Methodist Church, 1936 NE 8th Ave., 6 p.m. Nov. 20.

* Alachua County Library Headquarters, 401 E. University Ave: 1-4 p.m. Nov. 20.

For more information, call 352-262-0162 or visit

Colon said crucial to the prevention of diabetes and to treatment is a healthy diet and exercise.

"If diet and exercise fails, then we start them with medication, along with diet and exercise," Colon said. "Diet and exercise are a crucial piece of the treatment."

Colon said eating a healthy diet means to be cognizant of portion control, which is a fistful of food six to seven times per day.

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