Be on the alert about diabetes

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Today is Diabetes Alert Day, and Carson City Health and Human Services wants to remind everyone about the important public health impact that diabetes has in our country and call attention to the health challenges faced by those with diabetes. In Nevada, nearly 10 percent of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes develops when your body does not use insulin properly. Some common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, feeling very thirsty, feeling very hungry — even though you are eating, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, and cuts and bruises that are slow to heal.

Nationally, it is estimated that 27.8 percent of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. To help people identify their risk for diabetes, the American Diabetes Association has developed a self-assessment, called the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test. The test is available on their website, By answering a few simple questions about yourself, you can get an idea about how at risk you are for diabetes. If you are at risk, you can print out the results and share them with your healthcare provider to help develop a plan to reduce your risk and improve your health.

Sandy Wartgow, a nurse with Carson City Health and Human Services, encourages people to take charge of their health.

“First, know your fasting glucose or A1C measurement. Your primary care provider can order this during your annual check-ups. Keep your weight within the recommended guidelines. Exercise and eat healthy. Utilize our parks and trails, bike paths, walking paths, and consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Carson City Health and Human Services’ Clinic offers blood sugar testing as part of an annual wellness exam. For clients with health indicators that put them at higher risk for diabetes, or those with a family history of diabetes, a simple finger stick can be the first step to help determine if lifestyle changes or medication are needed.

There are resources for area residents who are diabetic or prediabetic, or anyone who wants to learn more about diabetes, Carson Tahoe offers classes, as well as a support group that meets on the second Thursday of each month. If you would like more information about the diabetes program at Carson Tahoe, call 775-445-8607. Additionally, for Spanish-speaking community members, the United Latino Community offers a Diabetes Self-Management Course. Contact United Latino Community at 775-885-1055 for information.

While diabetes can be a challenge, it is not an insurmountable one. Through diet and exercise, and medication if necessary, those who live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can lead full lives. For information on diabetes or to find out if you might be at risk for the disease, visit To learn about diabetes services offered by Carson Tahoe Hospital, check out their website at Stay up-to-date on everything going on at Carson City Health and Human Services by visiting or by “liking” us on Facebook at


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