Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 Americans have diabetes and another 84 million adults are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

To raise awareness about diabetes and healthy living, the Galveston County Health District is proudly participating in National Diabetes Month.

“Although there isn’t yet a cure for diabetes, a healthy lifestyle as recommended by your doctor can reduce its impact on your life,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Local Health Authority. “Everyday actions like maintaining a healthy diet, being physically active and taking prescribed medications help you stay on track.”

There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational. Approximately 90 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2, which can often be delayed or prevented. With Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to regulate blood sugar levels.

If you have any of the risk factors below, ask your doctor if you should be tested for diabetes.

• Being overweight.

• Being 45 years or older.

• Having a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes.

• Being physically active less than three times a week.

• Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than nine pounds.

Race and ethnicity also matter: African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and some Asian-Americans are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Uncontrolled, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and other health problems.

“The sooner you find out if you have diabetes, the sooner you can start making healthy changes that will benefit you now and in the future,” Keiser continued.

People with diabetes are encouraged to participate in GCHD’s free support group, Diabetes 101. The group meets the second Wednesday of every month from noon to 1 p.m. in the Texas City WIC classroom, located in the Mid-County Annex. To register for Diabetes 101 or learn about free blood glucose screenings, call 409-938-2292 or email chs@gchd.org.

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