It is estimated that about 10% of Kentuckians have Diabetes and 7% have been diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes (see the KY Diabetes Fact Sheet). We also have some of the highest rates of obesity, childhood obesity, physical inactivity, and high blood pressure in the nation. If you have Diabetes, focusing on a balanced lifestyle with physical activity and a healthy diet can make a difference!
The Diabetes Program at the Louisville Metro Health Department provides a Diabetes Management Series several times a year at various locations. To see the current schedule, click here. For more information or to register for the classes, call (502) 574-6663.
If you have questions about managing diabetes or want to talk with a Certified Diabetes Educator, please call 574-5285 or 574-5284.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where your blood glucose levels are higher than they should be. This happens because your body may not be able to use insulin the right way, or it may not make enough insulin. Insulin is important because it is how glucose gets into your cells. The insulin is like a key, opening the door to let glucose (or what gives your cells energy) in. If this path doesn’t work right, the glucose builds up in your blood, which can lead to other issues over time.
There are three main types of Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes:
- Found in 5-10% of Diabetes cases
- Due to autoimmune disease
- Body does not make enough insulin. Must take insulin to survive.
Type 2 Diabetes:
- Found in 90-95% of Diabetes cases
- Usually due to genetics and lifestyle factors
- Body does not make enough insulin or does not use the insulin it has very well.
- Diagnosed with higher than normal glucose levels during pregnancy.
What is Pre-Diabetes?
Pre-Diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar is higher than it should be, but not high enough to be considered as having Diabetes. Though people may think it is “no big deal”, people with pre-diabetes still need to watch their food intake and get the recommended amounts of physical activity to stay healthy. People with pre-diabetes are also at an increased risk for heart disease.
What puts you at risk?
Take the American Diabetes Association’s Risk Test for Diabetes. Common risk factors for Diabetes include:
- Being overweight/obese
- Being sedentary
- Having a family history of Diabetes
- Being African American, Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino or Asian
- Having a baby that weighed greater than 9 pounds
- Having gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)
- Being over age 45
How do I know if I have Diabetes?
Common signs and symptoms of Diabetes include:
- Extreme thirst
- Urinating more than usual
- Being very hungry
- Being very tired
- Having blurry vision
- Having sores or wounds that do not heal easily
- Some people do not have noticable signs or symptoms
The American Diabetes Association has set criteria to determine if someone has Diabetes. Any of these criteria can be used by your doctor to help determine your best course of treatment:
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (fasting for 8 hours or more) greater or equal to 126 mg/dL
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test with a two-hour plasma glucose of greater or equal to 200 mg/dL
- Classic signs/symptoms of diabetes with a random plasma glucose of greater or equal to 200 mg/dL
- Having an A1c greater or equal to 6.5%
Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and amputations.
Prevention and Treatment
- If you are overweight, losing just 5-10% of your body weight has proven to help manage blood sugars better
- Get your recommended amounts of physical activity. General recommendations include getting 150 minutes of physical activity a week (about 30 minutes, 5 times per week). If you are not meeting this recommendation, start slow and work your way up to this number. See a list of our free physical activity classes!
- The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping your blood glucose between 70-130 mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after meals. Check with your doctor to see what glucose ranges are right for you.
- Focus on your ABC’s:
- A1c (average glucose over three months-check with your doctor for this test) of less than 7%.
- Blood Pressure: If you have Diabetes, aim for a blood pressure of less than 130/80.
- Cholesterol: Watch that “bad” LDL cholesterol and try to increase your “good” HDL cholesterol.
- Your doctor will let you know if other treatment options are needed to help you manage your Diabetes.
GOOD NEWS for PEOPLE with DIABETES!
A Kentucky law, passed in July, 1998, states that all health benefit plans (e.g. health insurance), issued or renewed on or after July 15, 1998, shall provide coverage for the following items prescribed by a legally authorized health care provider:
- diabetes equipment and supplies
- outpatient self-management training and education (including medical nutrition therapy) provided by a certified, registered or licensed health care professional with expertise in diabetes, as deemed
necessary by a health care provider
- all medications necessary for the treatment of diabetes
Benefits provided by this law are subject to the same annual deductibles or coinsurance established for all other covered benefits within the health benefit plan.