Updated 32 minutes ago
In his long career, Wilford Brimley has appeared in popular films such as "Cocoon", "The Natural" and "The China Syndrome", but mentions his name and the first thing that comes to mind is probably one word:
The 84-year-old actor made television commercials in the 90's for Liberty Medical's diabetes testing materials. Brimley's pronunciation of the medical term generated tons of memes and parody videos.
But, in fact, diabetes is not a laughing problem.
"Government studies show that one out of every 10 people in the United States has diabetes," says Dr. Stephan Kowalyk, an endocrinologist at Greensburg. "It is estimated that it will be one in every three in 20 years."
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which work with more than 30 million people with the disease, although one in four can not even take into account that they have it.
Numbers include 400,000 in Western Pennsylvania, says Julie Heverly, executive director of the American Diabetes Association of Pittsburgh.
The incidence of the disease in this country is "caused by overweight and inactivity," says Kowalyk, and has become a problem of almost epidemic proportions.
It is not surprising that the month of November is designated National Month of Awareness on Diabetes.
Sense of urgency
"It is very important that we encourage awareness, so that people understand the urgency around this disease and the risk factors," says Heverly. "What distinguishes this disease from others is that medical professionals can establish a treatment plan, but the burden depends on the individual to decide what to eat, take their medications, be physically active and manage their own care."
What is diabetes? Here's a simple explanation of webmd.com:
Diabetes comes from hormonal insulin problems, which is released by the pancreas to help the body store and use the sugar and fat of the foods we eat.
Diabetes occurs when the body produces little or no insulin or when the body does not respond adequately to insulin (insulin resistance), which leads to high levels of blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes (previously called "juvenile appearance") is an autoimmune disease that usually starts with childhood in which the body attacks the pancreas with antibodies so that the damaged organ does not produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. Genetic and lifestyle factors, such as overweight and lack of physical activity, are seen as taxpayers.
There is also gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, when the body naturally develops some insulin resistance. With good nutrition and physical exercise, the condition usually resolves after the woman gives birth and usually does not lead to type 2 diabetes later.
Symptoms and signs
Symptoms of the disease may include:
• Increase in headache and dry mouth
• Increased hunger (especially after eating)
• Frequent urination
• Unexplained weight loss
• Blurred vision
• Breathing heavy and heavy
Untreated severe (and, ultimately, death) health conditions can result:
• Problems of vision, including sensitivity to light and even blindness
• Renal and nervous damage
• Problems with digestion
• Slow wound healing
Diabetes can make it difficult to control blood pressure and cholesterol, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. It can affect the flow of blood to the legs and feet. There also seems to be links between diabetes and depression and dementia.
"Click on sugar & # 39;
What can be done to avoid this scary scenario? Although there is currently no cure, diabetes can be managed.
"The most important thing is consciousness," says Kowalyk.
"I have patients who make jokes that" I have a touch of sugar, "but it's not a weird thing," he says. "The biggest problems are maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying active and slim. There is no doubt that's something difficult to do, but even small amounts of weight loss and physical activity have a great impact on blood sugar.
"We all know how difficult it is to practice here in winter," says Heverly.
"There is a great boost in this country to identify pre-diabetes, so people can make these lifestyle changes," he adds. "It is generally recommended to have blood sugar tested once a year, surely between the ages of 30 and 40, depending on whether you have excess weight or have a family history of diabetes."
Help is available
The website of the American Diabetes Association has information on everything from risk factors and treatment to community resources and healthy eating.
The "Feeding" hub of the website contains all kinds of information on food options, nutrition information, fast foods and healthy snacks, vegetarian and gluten free and even meal planning.
A new feature, says Heverly, is a "Create Your Card" tool that helps users plan breakfast, lunch or dinner. A chart of a dish is divided into sections that show the degradation of healthy food: 25 percent protein, 25 percent grain and starchy food and 50 percent non-fertile vegetables.
Area health networks, including Excela Health, Allegheny Health Network and UPMC, offer diabetes education and management programs.
The program "Living with Diabetes, for example" by Excella helps newly-diagnosed people learn to control their own care and control their blood glucose levels.
This month, the sessions are planned on November 7th at the Excela Square in Norwin and on November 6th, 13th and 20th at the Latrobe Hospital.
The information is available at 877-771-1234 or excelahealth.org.
For information on the Allegheny Health Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Health, call 412-362-8677 or visit the website ahn.org.
For the UPMC Diabetes and Endocrinology Center, call 412-586-9700 or visit upmc.com.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review personal writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter @shirley_trib.