With the start of the New Year, it’s a good time to kick off paying closer attention to our physical health. More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes and 25% of them don’t know it. At the same time, 86 million are living with prediabetes, a serious health condition that increases a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2013 (and may be underreported). It is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness. More than 20% of all health care spending in the United States is for people with diagnosed diabetes.
“There’s good news and bad news,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources (ADRC) manager. “The bad news is that more than a third of all adults have prediabetes. The good news is that with planned diet, exercise and medications, people can tremendously cut their risk of developing diabetes or live a vibrant life with diabetes. We know what works.”
To learn more about diabetes risk and resources available, Pierce County’s ADRC is offering the public two free walk-in workshops, in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association of Washington State and Northern Idaho.
“Diabetes Prevention & Management” workshops:
- Jan. 9 – 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th Street in Tacoma
- Jan. 12 – 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. at the County City Building, 930 Tacoma Ave. S., 7th Floor Conference Room in Tacoma
Untreated or ignored diabetes has serious consequences. Without appropriate health care for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, vision problems, blindness, kidney disease and amputations are the most common effects. There are also serious complications for pregnant women and their babies.
People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin for life to survive. For people with type 2 diabetes, healthy eating, regular physical activity, and medicines to lower blood sugar can help prevent or delay complications. Both groups need to work closely with their health care team to receive diabetes education, regular checkups, and ongoing support to self-manage their health.
For more information call (253) 798-4600. For possible weather postponement call (253) 798-8787.
Bob Riler, Community Connections