Describe what it is like to live with diabetes from their perspective.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly called Adult Onset Diabetes (no longer since it occurs earlier and earlier in life), affects approximately 18 million people in the United States, almost a third of whom are undiagnosed. About 9 million are 60 or older. Complications from diabetes can include wounds that don’t heal, vascular problems, amputation, difficulty fighting infection, etc. Another 16 million people are estimated to have pre-diabetes.

Those born in the year 2000 are 30 to 40 percent likely to develop diabetes; there are 60 million overweight kids in the U.S.! It’s the fifth deadliest disease in the U.S., killing at least 213,000 people every year. Fortunately, every day there are new advances for preventing and controlling diabetes and constant improvements for living with the condition. However, everyone is at risk for developing diabetes, especially here in the U.S. We don’t exactly know why the risk of diabetes increases with age, but we do know risk factors include family history, obesity and lifestyle factors (sedentary lifestyle, high sugar intake), and ethnicity.

If you have a fasting glucose level (your blood sugar level when you wake up) above 100, then you are considered to have pre-diabetes. There is a blood test called the Hemoglobin A1c test (HgbA1c), which shows an average blood glucose level over three months. When someone is newly diagnosed with diabetes, HgbA1c helps determine how elevated that person’s uncontrolled blood glucose levels have been; a HgbA1c of less than 6.5% is recommended for those diagnosed with diabetes. Pre-diabetes is defined as A1C between 5.7% and 6.4%.

Talk to a friend of family member who has been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Describe what it is like to live with diabetes from their perspective. If you don’t know anyone with diabetes, you may do some research online by visiting the American Diabetes Association website, or other diabetes sites such asdlife.com. What risk factors for diabetes did they have when the disease was diagnosed? How do they manage their disease now; what do they find to be the biggest challenge in their day-to-day life? Have they suffered any long-term complications related to the diabetes? If so, what? If you don’t know anyone with diabetes, tell us something you learned or have an improved understanding of now in terms of what is diabetes, how it might manifest, its etiology (when known) or something associated with this understanding that has perhaps influenced your overall understanding.

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