November is National Diabetes Awareness Month |

This week we have a guest blogger, Joseph who’s a Pharmacy Student from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Also, he’s currently on a management internship with Coborn’s (he has also worked at our pharmacy in Pinecone for a number of years) and was excited for the opportunity to write about November’s topic…Diabetes.

Diabetes is becoming a huge healthcare concern in the United States. Complications from diabetes includes kidney damage, blindness, loss of feeling and pain in your legs and feet, heart attack and stroke. In fact, the 7th leading cause of death in the United States is diabetes (and may be underreported). Here at Coborn’s, we want you to understand the basics about diabetes, how to reduce your risk, and what we can do to help manage those with diabetes.

What exactly is diabetes?

Diabetes is a progressive disease in which your body is unable to efficiently process sugar to use as energy. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which is used to move sugar from your blood into your cells to use for energy or store for later. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells don’t respond to insulin. As a result, you are unable to get the sugar from your blood into your cells.

There are two main types of diabetes i.e. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, previously known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is caused when your own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is caused by your body not producing enough insulin or your body not responding to the insulin being produced, called insulin resistance.

Is diabetes that big of a problem?

The answer is YES! The most recent statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in 2015, it’s estimated that 9.4% (30.3 million) of the U.S. population had diabetes, 1 in 4 didn’t know they had diabetes. With numbers like this, diabetes is a growing epidemic. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled as the American population has aged and become more overweight.

Are you at risk for developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes?

You’re at risk for developing pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
So, what can you do to reduce your risk of developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes?
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Regular physical activity – 150 minutes per week
  • Eat healthier

For help or more information about what you can do to prevent diabetes, read more at CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program.

How can Coborn’s help?

  • We host Wellness Wednesday events in Sauk Rapids, Ramsey, and Isanti with our Pharmacists and Dietitians on the second Wednesday of each month.
  • Offer pre-diabetes screenings at our pharmacies through the month of November.
  • Offer free blood glucose testing at pharmacies this month.
  • Having diabetes makes you more likely to contract Hepatitis B and Pneumonia. We offer immunization for both at our pharmacies.
  • Talk to our pharmacy staff about our PharmaSmart program to help monitor your blood pressure.
  • Join our RX Savers club for access to affordable medications to treat diabetes.
  • Free Glucocard meter and 50 count test strips for $9.99.
  • Dietitian approved, month-long diabetic menu and shopping lists.

Joseph Van Heel,

Pharm.D. IV Student