It’s no secret that many Tooele County citizens are struggling with being overweight or obese, and now many are struggling with diabetes, too.
Just a few years ago, the county held the unenviable title of having the most obese residents in Utah, according to state health statistics. In terms of health districts, the county’s ranking for obesity has improved — but only to second place.
And now, as a probable result, too many local citizens are fighting to keep their blood/sugar under control. According to the Tooele County Health Department, the county is ranked second in the state for Type 2 diabetes.
Thankfully, the local health department isn’t standing idly by, hoping the problem will eventually auto correct. It’s further pushing its work to get more citizens at risk of getting diabetes checked, as reported in Thursday’s edition under the front-page headline “Health department increasing effort to catch diabetes.” The health department has joined the Utah Department of Health, the American Diabetes Association and the Ad Council to help alert more local residents about prediabetes through a national ad campaign.
That campaign focuses on encouraging overweight to obese people — who are experiencing prediabetes symptoms of constant fatigue, extreme thirst and frequent urination — to take a quick online survey at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. The website encourages those who score within a certain range to speak with their doctor. The website also features lifestyle tips and connects visitors to the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
This is not the first outreach by the county health department this year to get people checked for diabetes. In the spring, the health department launched a series of local classes on prediabetes. There, participants learned that diet changes, increased physical activity and resulting weight loss can reverse prediabetes, and better yet, dramatically reduce the chances of getting Type 2 diabetes.
Another good place to start is to try the online survey at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. If the score suggests the presence of prediabetes, the applicant is encouraged to contact their doctor and take further steps. Those steps can reverse the deleterious affects of diabetes, which include nerve and blood vessel damage, heart or kidney disease, foot and skin infections, stroke, high blood pressure, cognitive decline and high cholesterol.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and is where the body produces no insulin. The cause is currently unknown. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common, is a disease in which the body cannot metabolize glucose or sugar. But its cause is known to be directly linked to diet, weight and inactivity.
Which means Type 2 diabetes, in perhaps most cases, is preventable. The Tooele County Health Department, and other agencies and businesses, are thanked for their progressive efforts to get more citizens involved in preventing Type 2 diabetes. May their efforts make a difference, and may more citizens who are at risk choose to become involved.
In addition to DoIHavePrediabetes.org, more information is available at the county health department with health educator Hillary Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 435-277-2363.