Despite the misconception that diabetes only affects people who are already overweight, diabetes can affect people of all ages and body types. This means that the people you see jogging or skating through Forest Park are just as susceptible to diabetes as someone struggling with obesity. In fact, even children can become diabetic.
Diabetes occurs when the insulin created by your pancreas doesn’t meet the demand of the glucose in your bloodstream. Glucose, made from the food you eat, must travel into the body’s cells to provide energy and proper growth. When there isn’t enough insulin, no insulin is produced or your body doesn’t respond correctly to the insulin produced, glucose can not be absorbed by the body’s cells and results in diabetes.
Diabetes, if left untreated, can lead to some pretty serious health problems such as nerve damage, skin infections, blood pressure problems or heart attack. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of diabetes.
If you are experiencing any of the following, it may be wise to see your doctor or visit any St. Louis area Walgreens Take Care Clinic to have a diabetes screening:
Unexplainable weight loss
Cuts or bruises that heal slowly
Extreme fatigue or irritability
Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, there are many resources in the St. Louis area and through the American Diabetes Association that can help you learn about the changes you’ll need to make to cope with your diabetes.
The St. Louis County Library has many books that can help you learn more about diabetes as well as show you how to change your diet and exercise plan to best protect your health.
The Defeat Diabetes Foundation also has several programs offered throughout Missouri to help educate about diabetes.
The Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Diabetes Center is another great resource for both education and medical care.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital has an excellent diabetes program for young patients. The staff of the pediatric diabetes program is there 24/7 to answer questions and help with any needs that may arise.
The American Diabetes Association also has an office in St. Louis. You can find out more about their services by calling 314-822-5490.
Once you have consulted with your doctor and a treatment plan has been implemented, it’s important to have consistent monitoring to make sure treatment is working for you. If changes to your diet and exercise don’t produce the desired results, ask your doctor about a new, experimental drug called TAK-875, which has shown some promise in increasing insulin secretion and helping to keep blood glucose levels under control.
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