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Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare raises awareness on Diabetes Alert Day

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 4:42 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tuesday marks Diabetes Alert Day in the U.S. and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is working to bring awareness to the disease that affects millions.

More young people are getting diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, according to the CDC. It is a statistic making diabetes awareness even more crucial.

Kristy Merritt is a certified diabetes care specialist with Methodist Healthcare. She says Type 1 diabetes mostly affects pediatric patients but can sometimes affect young adults.

”Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune dysfunction, which means essentially the body attacks its own cells predominantly in the pancreas the organ that is responsible for making the hormone insulin,” Merritt explained.

Merritt says Type 2 diabetes can develop from unhealthy lifestyle habits, and genetics plays a part too.

“A high association with the family history, we know that age is a relevant factor over the age of 45,” she said.

Minority groups including Native Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and African Americans are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. A Methodist 2019 health assessment showed diabetes affects 12% of the people in Shelby County.

Both types of diabetes could lead to serious health complications if they are not managed properly. Diabetes is often accompanied by other diseases as people age.

”They oftentimes have blood pressure problems, they may have elevated cholesterol problems, and those three together is what we call the trinity or triple threat,” said Merritt.

She stresses the importance of working with your doctor to manage your diabetes.

”When a person is well advised, and they have that education and that level of support from their health care team, we know that those outcomes are so much better,” said Meritt.

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