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American diabetes month

November 5, 2010
Reinbeck Courier

Grundy County Memorial Hospital (GCMH) recognizes November as American Diabetes Month. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), more than 24 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes and more than 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes or are at risk for developing Type II diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease in which a body's blood sugar or blood glucose level is too high. If the body does not make enough insulin, or if the insulin does not work the way it should, glucose cannot get into the body's cells and instead stays in the blood. Glucose comes from the food we eat. The body carries glucose to all cells in the body and there it is used for energy. We need this energy and the calories from it to function every day.

There are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. In Type I diabetes the pancreas no longer produces insulin, people with Type I diabetes need insulin. Type II diabetes is the more common of the two. In Type II diabetes the body's cells no longer use insulin right away and eventually the pancreas may lose its ability to make enough insulin.

Article Photos

GCMH Dietitian, Wendy Brewer, RD, LD.
Photo submitted

It is important to control diabetes because high blood sugars can result in serious health problems and complications. Health problems can include: damage to blood vessels in the body and eyes, nerve damage that can lead to a loss of feeling in the feet, damage that can cause the kidneys to stop working, and infections in the gums and teeth. Each of these can lead to further health complications including, heart disease, stroke, blindness, and amputation if not managed. The good news is that diabetes can be treated to help people live their life normally and can be controlled with healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, and prescribed medications.

The best way to find out if you have diabetes is to consult your doctor. Your doctor can check to see if the glucose in your blood is too high. Symptoms may include: extreme thirst or hunger, blurred vision, feeling tired, and frequent urination. Many people do not show symptoms so it is important to get checked, especially if you have indicated risk factors. Risk factors for Type II diabetes may include: family history, increasing age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise, and having diabetes while pregnant. You can ask your doctor if you should be checked for diabetes.

GCMH offers a diabetes education program, recognized by the ADA, for newly diagnosed patients. The goal of this program is to assist patients with self-management skills for diabetes treatment. Yearly visits are recommended by the diabetes education team to help keep your diabetes controlled. Many insurance companies cover the cost of diabetes education. Please talk with your doctor about a referral today or call GCMH scheduling at 319-824-5081 or toll free at 888-824-5081.

For more information about any of GCMH services please call the hospital at 319-824-5421 or visit



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