A note from…. Erica L. Pirog, PA-C

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and according to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 7 million people in the US have undiagnosed diabetes, but there is no need for you to become a part of that statistic. Understanding possible diabetes symptoms can lead to early diagnosis, treatment, and better health.

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Early symptoms of diabetes can be subtle or seem harmless. Take your body’s hints seriously, if you notice any possible signs or symptoms of diabetes, contact your health care provider.
• Excessive thirst and increased urination. Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess sugar. If your kidneys can’t keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into your urine along with fluids drawn from your tissues, which may leave you dehydrated.
•Feeling fatigued from your body’s inability to function properly, is a symptom of diabetes.
•Fluctuation in weight can also be a possible sign of diabetes.
•Blurred Vision. Diabetes can affect your vision, and ability to focus. If these changes progress undetected, they can lead to vision loss and blindness.
•Slow healing of cuts and frequent infections are also symptoms of diabetes. The high levels of blood sugar impair your body’s natural healing process and your ability to fight infections.
•Tingling and/ or loss of sensation in your hands and feet, as well as burning pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet are symptoms of High Blood sugar.
Left untreated complications from diabetes can increase the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. Long term complications may also include nerve damage, kidney damage, or eye damage and may increase the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity are important factors in preventing and managing diabetes.
Litzenberg has a Diabetes Education Group that meet at 6:30pm the last Thursday of each month in the Hospital Conference Room. Tanya Kier, RN and Jacey Schwarz, RN present monthly programs on living with and managing diabetes. The Diabetes Education Group will also be hosting an Open House at the Community Health Fair on Saturday November 21st.
Diabetes is not a death sentence, but it should be considered a wake-up call to start making some important changes in your life. Lifestyle changes may not be easy, however, by eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, and following a medication plan prescribed by your doctor; you can live a long, normal life with diabetes.
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