Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the world. The World Health Organization tells us that there are 422 million people on Earth with this blood sugar disease. Today, about 1 in 10 U.S. citizens are afflicted. But the news gets even grimmer: scientists predict that the number of Americans with diabetes will increase to 1 in 3 by the year 2050. Imagine that – a third of the population with diabetes!
Why these diabetes statistics are important
We’re tossing all these numbers at you because they represent a really disturbing trend. American Diabetes Month (all of November) is the perfect time for us at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center to help our Fairfax County patients buck the trend.
Diabetes comes in two major forms: Type 1 is the inability to produce insulin, a hormone essential for regulating the levels of glucose in your blood. With Type 2, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body doesn’t use it properly. No matter which type you have, the effects are essentially the same. Unless diabetics take deliberate steps to control their levels of blood glucose, they’re at a high risk of blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputations, and death.
Know the major risk factors
There’s nothing you can do to prevent the onset of Type 1 diabetes. It’s an autoimmune disease. However, there are four essential risk factors for Type 2 that you can avoid:
- a sedentary lifestyle
- overweight or obesity
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- abnormal cholesterol levels
Other factors aren’t within your control at all, such as your family history, your race, and your age. Diabetes tends to run in families, especially those of African, Asian, or Pacific Islander descent. Your risk also increases as you get older.
Be aware; be proactive
If you think you might fall into a high-risk category, talk with your primary care physician. And remember that if you have diabetes, you can turn to Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm for expert diabetic foot care. We recommend seeing Dr. Wilhelm at least once a year to avoid diabetic foot complications and reduce the risk of amputation. Call us in Centreville, Virginia at (703) 996-3000 or contact us online for an appointment.