GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Diabetes and prediabetes affect over 100 million people in the U.S. alone. Now, with this month being Diabetes Awareness Month, doctors are expressing the dangers of not being proactive with a disease like this.
According to the CDC, just over 120 million people are in the prediabetic or diabetic stage in our country. One local doctor said this is no joke and that lifestyle changes can make all the difference.
“It’s a disease that you don’t really feel so it’s hard to know when negative things are happening,” said Dr. Darrell Neufer, the director of East Carolina Diabetes & Obesity Institute.
Although it can feel invisible, the effects of diabetes can be lethal. November marks the start of Diabetes Awareness Month and doctors say getting the info out about the diagnosis can save lives.
“It’s to remind people to, especially if they’re at risk if they have either family history or are overweight and inactive, that they need to be vigilant about going to their physicians on a regular basis, Neufer said.
So, what is diabetes?
“Persistently high blood glucose levels,” said Neufer.
You may then ask, well what can happen from that?
“The tissues become resistant to insulin because they already have too much glucose coming in, so they try to signal to the bloodstream, ‘we’ve got too much glucose, let’s try to keep it from coming in.’”
Neufer explained this happens from mainly two factors: overeating and leading an inactive lifestyle. With nationwide rates looking unpromising, it can also be even worse in the Southern Belt and the Eastern Region of North Carolina due to cultural diet habits.
“Eastern North Carolina is also quite susceptible, there’s a lot of fast food consumption and inactivity,” said Neufer.
Diabetes can also present itself in what is called ‘Type One.’ This happens to be a more irreversible version of the disease.
“Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that typically materializes in children and more often than not it follows after the child has had some form of a viral infection,” Neufer said.
But what can you do if you are worried about a Type II diagnosis?
“We know from weight loss, getting back into balance, adopting an active lifestyle can completely reverse the disease or at a minimum improve the disease dramatically,” said Neufer.
Neufer also explained there are different outcomes from this disease, some as severe as amputations to one’s limbs if it gets really bad.