Some Thumb residents reported that diabetes was not at the top of their list of worries, but the data on diabetes might suggest otherwise.

 November is Diabetes Awareness Month. The Thumb Community Health Partnership is encouraging families to learn more about diabetes and how to reduce the impact of diabetes.

 In a recent survey conducted by Thumb Community Health Partnership (TCHP), residents in the Thumb rated the risk of developing diabetes as number four out of five possible risks.

 According to Kari White, TCHP program coordinator, “We got the idea for our survey from a similar survey that was conducted by the American Diabetes Association in 2008 that surveyed 2,400 people. We wanted to know if Thumb Area residents would have the same reaction. Although our sample was smaller, we also found that people were not as concerned about diabetes.”

 Of the 37 responses received, the risk with the highest amount of concern was developing cancer coming in at number one. Here in Michigan, an estimated 2.7 million people have prediabetes while an average of 54,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Michigan. But awareness and concern of cancer is clearly much higher. Despite these facts, diabetes was less of a worry to survey respondents.

 During November, TCHP is hoping the public will become more aware of diabetes and its impact. Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t produce or release the right amount of insulin to process the sugar you eat. This can cause serious health problems.

 The National Institutes of Health recommends the following steps to help lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

• Manage health conditions associated with diabetes by setting goals with your health provider.

• Lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which can then reduce your chances of developing heart disease and stroke.

• Eat healthy and be more active.

• Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Avoiding nicotine and tobacco lowers the risk of developing other chronic diseases too.

 For more information about lowering your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, talk to your healthcare provider, visit www.Facebook/ThumbHealth, or contact Kay Balcer, TCHP Director at (989)553-2927.

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