Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels, which over time can lead to serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, lower limb amputation, and blindness. It is one of the most serious global health issues of the 21st century, affecting more than 425 million people worldwide. This number is projected to increase to over 629 million by 2045.
November is recognized as World Diabetes Month, an opportunity to learn more about this serious condition. This year’s theme is The Family and Diabetes, aimed at recognizing the important role that family members can play in helping to detect signs of diabetes, and ways they can help loved ones manage the condition.
It is estimated that as many as half of all people living with diabetes are unaware of their disease. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. A family history of type 2 diabetes is a strong risk factor for diabetes.
Families can play an important role in identifying potential signs of type 2 diabetes in their loved ones. Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Excessive thirst and dry mouth
- Frequent and abundant urination
- Lack of energy
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Slow healing wounds
- Blurred vision
People with type 2 diabetes are at risk for serious diabetes-related complications, including heart disease, stroke or kidney failure.
Family members can play a significant role in helping people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition and achieve their A1C goals by:
If a member of your family has diabetes, it is important to encourage him or her to work with their healthcare provider on a personalized treatment plan, as diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease that benefits from early intervention.