National Diabetes Month is recognized each November, while World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14 is an international campaign. Each has the purpose of drawing attention to this important public health issue and keeping diabetes education firmly in the public spotlight.
- More than 29 million Americans – or about 9 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes, making it the 7th leading cause of death and ranking the nation #3 in the world for diabetes prevalence.
- It also is estimated that one in every three Americans have prediabetes and does not even know they have the disease.
- If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
- Approximately one in eight adults in New Mexico have diabetes, affecting more than 204,000 people with 26 percent of those not knowing they have it.
- The direct and indirect costs of diabetes in New Mexico exceed $2.1 billion.
This November 14, the New Mexico Diabetes Advisory Council (NMDAC), the American Diabetes Association, the Zia Association of Diabetes Educators (ZADE), the New Mexico Department of Health’s Diabetes Prevention & Control Program (DPCP) along with the National Diabetes Education Program are encouraging people across the state with diabetes to “Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes.”
Control the ABCs of Diabetes is a critical message because people with diabetes are nearly two times more likely to die from heart disease or stroke than a person without diabetes. The good news is that those with diabetes can lower their chance of having diabetes-related heart problems by managing their Diabetes ABCs:
- A is for the A1C test (A-one-C). This is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar (glucose) level over the past three months.
- B is for Blood pressure.
- C is for Cholesterol.
- S is for stopping smoking.
“Many people with diabetes do not understand that having diabetes puts them at increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke,” said Linda Reineke, RD, LD, CDE, board president of NMDAC and a member of ZADE. “Diabetes educators across New Mexico want people with diabetes to know that managing your ABCs can help prevent diabetes-related heart problems.”
The American Diabetes Association recommends that if you have diabetes, ask your health care team what your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers are, and what they should be. Your ABC goals will depend on how long you have had diabetes and other health problems.