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11.10.22 – What is Diabetes?

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Today let’s talk about diabetes, which is one of the leading causes of death in our county. November is National Diabetes Month which is a great time to talk about what you can do to prevent and control diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which there is too much sugar in the blood. Your body uses a hormone called insulin to help control your blood sugar. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes typically occurs earlier in life, as a child or young adult, and is due to not having enough insulin in your body to control your blood sugars. Type 2 diabetes is the more common cause of diabetes, can happen at any age, and is due to your body not being able to use insulin properly to control your blood sugars. 

What health problems does diabetes cause?

We care about diabetes because high blood sugars, over many years, cause damage throughout the body. Diabetes can cause:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye damage
  • Infections
  • Foot problems
  • Nerve damage

How do you know if you’re at risk for diabetes?

If you’re overweight or physically active less than 3 times a week, you’re at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes. A family history of diabetes or being older than 45 are also risk factors. Prediabetes is a risk factor for diabetes and it’s when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to damage your body.

What can you do to prevent diabetes?

If you have prediabetes or are at risk for diabetes, there are many things you can do to take better care of yourself to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Reduce sugar in your diet
  • Exercise regularly and stay active
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Eat more fiber
  • If you smoke, stop.

For more information, visit our website at aahealth.org or call us at 410-222-7979.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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