November is diabetes awareness month, and specifically, Wednesday, Nov. 14 is
World Diabetes Day.
Dr. Shannon Sullivan, a Family Medicine Physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Menasha joined us to talk
about diabetes, the difference between controlled vs. uncontrolled and how family support plays a
factor in managing the disease.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 425 million people are currently living
with diabetes. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is where the body’s defense system attacks the cells that produce insulin. Most people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which is, in some cases, preventable. Type 2 diabetes
accounts for at least 90 percent of all cases of diabetes and is characterized by insulin resistance.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes: Overweight and obesity, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, family history and high blood pressure.
Ways to help in diabetes prevention: Know risk factors, lifestyle modification, physical activity, healthy diet.
Dr. Shannon Sullivan explained that people who do not manage their diabetes with lifestyle changes or
medications are at risk of uncontrolled diabetes. That can trigger numerous problems. Dr. Sullivan said it
is important for patients to speak with their medical provider about specific plans to manage their diabetes.
When a loved one is diagnosed with diabetes, families should understand the disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, here are tips for families helping someone manage diabetes:
· Keep open lines of communication
· Make decisions together
· Set realistic expectations
· Know their ups and downs
· Follow the same healthy food and fitness plan (specifically around the holidays when healthy
food choices are not always available)