Diabetes is one of the most significant health problems in the U.S. in 2013. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1980-2011, the number of adults in the U.S. with diagnosed diabetes more than tripled from about 6 million to 20 million.
Over a period of nearly 20 years, a similar trend has occurred in the state of Indiana, where diabetes cases have doubled as a percentage of total population.
From 1994 through 2010, the age-adjusted percentage of the state’s population with diagnosed diabetes increased from 4.8 percent to 9.1 percent. This is slightly above the national ratio, which is at about 8.4 percent.
The damage that diabetes can cause ranges from blindness to limb amputation and in more severe cases, death. The combination of that with the statistics shown above is alarming. Fortunately, for residents living in the Muncie area, there are several resources for anyone concerned about this disease.
The IU Ball Memorial Hospital provides several diabetes resources for educating and helping patients. An education program offers information about diet, exercise, medicines, measuring blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes from becoming more severe. Other programs address prevention and gestational diabetes. A support group setup through the hospital meets monthly.
The American Diabetes Association is another valuable resource when it comes to information, prevention and treatment. While the organization does not have an office in Muncie, the nearest office is about an hour’s drive away in Indianapolis. Their website provides links to helpful information, recipes, programs for specific ethnicities at greater risk for diabetes, dietary information, legal help and research.
Monitoring glucose levels is one of the critical tasks of any diabetes patient and monitors have improved significantly over the years. Using older monitors meant having to supply a large drop of blood and waiting a couple of minutes for results. Modern monitors only require a small drop of blood and give results in a matter of seconds.
One recent development is the continuous glucose monitor (CGM). These devices rely on sensors placed under the skin that monitor blood sugar levels every few minutes. It is a valuable tool for patients who have fluctuating glucose levels.
Sophisticated monitors provide visual displays that show not only current levels but also trends. Patients can set alarms for when rapid trend changes occur allowing them to address problems quickly and contact a physician if necessary.
CGMs require the installation of temporary sensors under the skin and need to be replaced after a few days. Patients will still have to use monitors for calibration and other purposes to ensure accurate measurements, but for continuous monitoring and trend analysis, CGMs are the best solution. Patients considering CGMs should research online. For example, the provider Dexcom provides more info on their site, including a history of CGMs research and development.
The growth of diabetes cases over the years is certainly a disturbing trend, given the severe complications that can result when treatment is delayed. The good news is that not all is lost in the battle with diabetes. Educational resources provide a wealth of information in treating the disease and advances in technology provide better monitoring than in previous generations. The worst-case scenarios of diabetes can be avoided in many cases.