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KNOX CITY– As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the headlines, and many people still choosing to delay essential medical care, individuals with chronic diseases could face severe health risks. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and Knox County Hospital District is joining the campaign to increase local awareness and urge residents to talk with their medical providers about diabetes screening.
“COVID-19 is a serious threat, but it can be even more serious to those with underlying conditions, including diabetes,” said Dr. Laura Hart, physician in Knox City. “Knowing more about diabetes, whether or not you are at risk, and how to manage the disease is important.”
Diabetes mellitus is a disease that causes the pancreas to alter the production of insulin – an important hormone that converts sugar and starches into energy the body needs. If the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, then the amount of sugar in the blood rises uncontrollably, causing a deadly health risk.
Statistics show that diabetes is reaching epidemic rates, affecting an estimated 9.4 percent of Americans. Approximately 11.2 percent of Texans are currently living with the disease.
There is currently no data to suggest individuals with diabetes are more likely to contract COVID-19 compared to those without the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. The concern is people with diabetes are more likely to face worse outcomes if they contract the virus.
“Research in China has shown that people with diabetes who contracted the coronavirus had much higher rates of serious complications and death than those without diabetes,” Dr. Hart says. “It is data like this that is very concerning, especially given the fact that 11 percent of Texans are diabetic.”
Symptoms of diabetes often include excessive thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness, itching, blurred vision, excessive weight, tingling in the extremities, fatigue, and skin infections. Other signs include slow healing of cuts and scratches, especially those on the feet.
Managing diabetes is possible through a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, and medication.
Diabetes can be discovered with a blood test. This screening can help your medical provider determine what stage of the disease you have and how you can maintain optimum health.
As with other diseases and illnesses, everyone can benefit from a yearly physical. Screening for diabetes for those who fall in the high-risk categories should be done annually.
To learn more about screening for diabetes, please call Knox City Clinic at 940-657-3906 or the Munday Clinic at 940-422-5271.