The LIAAC Blog

News and thoughts from the Long Island Association for AIDS Care

Diabetes, One of the Nation’s Fastest Growing Chronic Illnesses

People who are diagnosed with Diabetes must check their blood sugar levels on a regular basis to make sure it is recommended parameters.

By Dr. Gail Barouh

American Diabetes Month is designed to focus the nation’s attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the many people who are impacted by the disease. Raising awareness of this ever-growing disease is the goal of the month and is also one of the many goals of Tri Care Systems, LIAAC’s venture into providing community chronic care services to Health Homes in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin. Approximately 18.2 million people in the United States have Diabetes.  There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.

In Type 1 Diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.

Most people with Diabetes (90-95 percent) have Type 2, which is associated with obesity, having a family member with a history of Diabetes, older age, and race/ ethnicity. Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Additional risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes include prior history of gestational Diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and physical inactivity. Before people develop Type 2 Diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes”—blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as Diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. There are almost 41 million people with prediabetes in the United States. It usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly.

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. But if left untreated, Diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure and infections that can lead to amputation, as well as neuropathy, digestive and heart problems. Recent studies indicate that the early detection of Diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of Diabetes. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death among Hispanics in the United States and is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputations.

Tri Care Systems has access to numerous comprehensive programs and services to meet the needs of the people we serve. We offer, individual care coordination, linkage to support groups, referrals to medical and behavioral health care, housing and transportation, just the type of things that people with a chronic illness such as diabetes would need. If you or someone you know is on Medicaid and has diabetes, or another chronic illness, call our toll free hotline at 1-855-492-6887, or visit our website at: http://www.tricaresystems.org or check out our Facebook page.

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