1 in every 10 adults in Kansas has been diagnosed with the disease that can lead to stroke, blindness and kidney failure.
Imagine a gathering with 10 of your friends and family members. Now imagine that at least one of you has a disease that can lead to blindness…or amputation…or a stroke. The prospect is not at all far-fetched.
About one in 10 Kansans has been diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar (blood glucose). High levels of blood glucose are a result of inadequate production of insulin or a resistance to the effects of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.
K-State Research and Extension is offering Dining with Diabetes, a national extension program designed to boost the health and wellness of Kansans with Type 2 diabetes and help educate their family members, caregivers and others who support them.
“There’s so much at stake,” said Gayle Price, K-State Research and Extension family and consumer science specialist and coordinator of the program in Kansas. Diabetes increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, retinopathy that can lead to blindness and neuropathy that can lead to lower limb amputation.
The vast majority of adults who are diagnosed with diabetes – 90 to 95 percent – have Type 2 diabetes which occurs when cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin. Unlike Type 1, which occurs when the body cannot produce insulin and cannot be prevented, the onset of Type 2 can be prevented.
The prevalence of diabetes is greater in African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, among older adults and those with a family history of Type 2 diabetes, Price said. Some risk factors, however, can be modified, including being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and smoking.
An estimated $245 billion was spent on diagnosed diabetes in 2012 in the United States alone according to a study by the American Diabetes Association, Price said, including direct medical expenses and lost productivity. That was up from $43 billion in 2007. The study also indicated that people with diabetes spend an average of 2.3 times the amount of money on their health every year that people without diabetes spend. That works out to an average of $13,700 a year per person, about $7,900 of which is directly attributed to diabetes.
Dining with Diabetes is a series of two-hour classes held once a week for four weeks. Lessons focus on the best ways to take care of yourself if you have the disease; healthful food choices including familiar foods; low-impact physical activity; food sampling; cooking techniques using herbs, spices, reduced-fat foods and artificial sweeteners.