Wednesday, November 3, 2021
CMO Message on Diabetes
Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly half (42%) of adults in America gained weight. The average amount gained was 29 pounds. Just 5% body weight change can be clinically significant for cardiovascular risk factors. For someone who initially weighed 200 pounds, those 29 extra pounds equate to roughly 15% increase in body weight, three times the threshold for potentially impacting one’s health.
For some people, the weight gain is merely a nuisance, causing them to feel softer around the edges or necessitating a larger pant size. For others, the weight gain is reflective of something more dangerous happening metabolically. As a result of a less healthy lifestyle - severe life stress, poor sleep, gravitating towards unhealthy foods, and/or reduced physical activity - the body becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin is the main hormone that controls blood glucose and when the body no longer responds effectively to this signal, blood glucose levels rise, leading to type 2 diabetes.
If left untreated, diabetes can lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke, dementia, kidney failure, nerve damage, and blindness. Diabetes is also associated with other health issues such as hypertension, abnormal cholesterol levels, and higher risk of infections due to depression of the immune system.
Prior to the pandemic, 2 out of 5 adults were expected to develop diabetes at some point in their lifetimes. This number is likely going to increase as a result of the pressures on our communities over the last 2 years. Given the widespread and growing risk for type 2 diabetes, it’s important that we raise awareness for diabetes screening. All it takes is a simple blood test. Contact UnitedAg Health & Wellness Centers, UnitedAg Member Services, or your healthcare provider today to get tested.
- Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA