November is Diabetes Awareness Month

LEWIS COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Health care providers are bringing attention to a chronic disease that effects one in 11 americans today. That disease is diabetes.

According to the CDC, 29 million Americans have diabetes and West Virginia leads the nation.

"A chronic disease where our body has lost its ability to control its blood sugar by itself," said Clinical Nutrition Manager at the Stonewall Jackson Hospital, Pearly Mealey.

Officials say type 1 is usually developed early on in life usually referred to as "juvenile diabetes." Type 2 makes up about 90-95% of cases.

"That's usually diagnosed later on in life," Mealey said. "Risk factors being overweight or obese, sometimes genetics play a part in that."

Mealey says that type 2 patients aren't producing enough insulin or their bodies arent using it like they should. That's when other measures are taken to help control the blood sugar.

"It's often required to go on an oral medication usually," Mealey said. "Then they get referred to me in addition to get some nutrition education as well."

Mealey says if diabetes is left untreated, it could be detrimental.

"Heart attacks, strokes, it damages your vessels, your blood vessels, which can lead pretty much anywhere your kidneys, your eyes," Mealey said.

Mealey urges anyone to get tested if diabetes runs the your family or if you've been having symptoms such as excessive thirst or irritable moods.

"The sooner you can catch it and get a handle on it, the better," Mealey said.