Blog & News
November Is National Diabetes Month
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in both the school-age youth and adult populations in the United States. Did you know that:
- Approximately 34 million Americans are diabetic (10.5% of our population)
- Approximately 193,000 school-age youth are diabetic
- Approximately another 88 million people have pre-diabetes (33% of our population). Unfortunately 84% of these people DO NOT KNOW that they are pre-diabetic
- Diabetics are at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes used to be known as Juvenile Diabetes. It is caused by the body attacking its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas; which renders them unable to produce insulin. Research is ongoing; however it is thought that viruses, heredity, and environmental conditions can lead to the development of Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops vey suddenly, usually over a period of weeks.
Type 2 Diabetes is a more chronically developing disease in which the body develops insulin resistance and cannot respond efficiently to the insulin that it produces. Over time the body may stop producing insulin as well. This typically develops in adults; however children are now being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes as well. Risk factors for development include smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, physical activity, and being overweight or obese.
Pre-Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugars are higher than normal. It’s not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetic yet, but without lifestyle changes, adults and children with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
It is crucial that people are knowledgeable of the acute symptoms of diabetes, so that they can receive early diagnosis, treatment, and education in lifestyle management.
- Frequent Urination
- Excessive thirst
- Feeling very hungry
- Blurry vision
- Weight loss
- Cuts and sores that do not heal properly
If left untreated, both types of Diabetes can lead to major secondary complications, including vision damage, kidney damage, difficulty managing weight, circulatory changes which can cause heart attacks or strokes, and small blood vessel damage which can cause neurological changes or loss of limbs.
Management of Diabetes
Thankfully, there are many things that we can do to successfully manage diabetes. The earlier one commits to making lifestyle changes—the better the results will be!
- Have a comprehensive physical exam with your primary care physician which includes vital signs, urinalysis, and bloodwork. This exam will set a baseline of your body metrics, and will be used to make your new Lifestyle Plan
- Meet with a nutritionist to make a nutrition plan. Read about the types of foods and diets that are recommended for diabetics.
- Increase your activity level so that you can obtain an optimal weight
- Keep a daily diary to track your progress
- Make a lifelong commitment to good health
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Diet and exercise in combination with proper medication are usually considered to be the best way of managing diabetes. Physical activity is vital for diabetics to keep cholesterol down, lower blood sugar, and maintain a healthy weight. Lack of exercise also increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other serious complications. Both resistance and aerobic exercises are beneficial for treating the disease and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
ACCESS PT’s skilled physical therapists can help diabetics by providing supervised exercises tailored to their needs at whatever stage of the condition they are in. Poor circulation, specifically in the feet, is a common concern that activity and specialized motion with a physical therapist can improve. Physical therapy can help patients with diabetic neuropathy adapt and avoid injury by improving their balance and endurance.
Getting started on a new exercise routine can be challenging – especially if you have joint pain or low endurance. Physical therapists are experts in developing individualized plans to treat pain, improve range of motion and strength, improve endurance, and improve function. This care is covered by most insurances, so take a step in the right direction and call your local ACCESS PT office today. Our skilled therapists welcome the opportunity to work with you on your lifestyle plan to address diabetes.