November 17, 2020, Fort Myers, FL: At Lee Health, we have multiple experts who work with patients and community members to help them treat and manage diabetes. That’s important because some recent numbers show 14 percent of adults in Lee County have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 9.2 percent of Lee County adults have pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes. So for National Diabetes Awareness Month, here are some important things you need to know about the condition as well as some resources you can use to lower your risk or help you live your best life if you have diabetes:
What is diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the body cannot produce or respond appropriately to insulin, a hormone that absorbs and uses glucose (sugar) as fuel for cells. The stats are staggering: Approximately 30 million Americans (9 percent) have diabetes and another 84 million Americans (26 percent) have pre-diabetes. Diabetes lowers life expectancy by up to 15 years, increases the risk of heart disease by 2 to 4 times, and is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness. That might sound like a lot of bad news, but the important thing to remember: Your diabetes can be controlled. Through good self-management skills and collaboration with a health care provider, you can still live a healthy, fulfilling, active life while preventing complications.
Are you at risk for prediabetes? Certain factors include:
- Being 45 years old or older
- Having a history of gestational diabetes
- Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
- Having high blood pressure, being overweight and participating in exercise fewer than three times per week
Lowering your risk for diabetes requires manageable lifestyle changes such as weight loss, being more physically active, managing stress, and making healthy eating decisions.
Finding Hope and Solutions
Lee Health Solutions values health education and support, and our team offers several free workshops and programs for disease prevention and management. They also offer diabetes education classes covered by Medicare and commercial insurance.
Certified diabetes and education care specialists – experts in their field – teach each class and take the time to answer all of your questions along the way.
More good news in these strange times: Our classes have gone virtual! So if you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, or have never received comprehensive education on these conditions, Lee Health Solutions offers Diabetes Education and Support including virtual classes for prediabetes, comprehensive diabetes management, and gestational diabetes.
Virtual programs are currently running on a regularly scheduled basis. Get in touch with a program navigator to find the right program for you, and call 239-424-3127 (Fort Myers/Cape Coral) or 239-468-0051 (Bonita Springs/Estero) to learn more and get started.
Lee Health’s Healthy Life Center helps, too, with a wide range of classes for optimal health. Since the onset of COVID-19, the HLC has offered virtual classes for FREE.
So for National Diabetes Month, the Healthy Life Center is bringing awareness to diabetes in our community via a virtual education series through the end of November. Sign up for Healthy Life Center virtual classes like “Diabetes 101” or “Cooking with Kat: Making Smarter Food Choices with Diabetes” to learn alongside our health professionals and take control of your health.
Be sure to visit these free resources to help you make the healthiest choices this November and all year long!