American Diabetes Month

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.

The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. But, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.

Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes and gestational diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. And prediabetes is often the precursor of diabetes unless appropriate measures are taken to prevent progression. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.

Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may sometimes not experience symptoms. In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe.

Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections

Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it’s more common in people older than 40.

How does diabetes impact employers?

It can add up! Indirect costs almost $90 Billion including:

  • Increased absenteeism $3.3 Billion
  • Reduced productivity while at work for the employed population $26.9 Billion
  • Inability to work because of disease-related disability $2.3 Billion
  • Reduced productivity for those not in the labor force $37.5 Billion
  • Lost productivity due to 277,000 premature deaths attributed to diabetes $19.9 Billion

The direct costs, $237 Billion, including hospitalization, medical care, treatment and supplies, and other costs.

Total Costs $327 Billion

It is in the employer’s best interest to offer pre-diabetes and diabetes education to employees, it can save your organization money, but most importantly help save a life!