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Partnering with You to Manage Your Diabetes

More than 37 million Americans have diabetes. Another 96 million adults aged 18 and older have prediabetes, which, if not controlled, inevitably leads to diabetes. These numbers account for almost half of our population! In fact, diabetes has become so prevalent that many people don’t take it as seriously as they should. As a result, complications from diabetes have become the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Some of the most serious complications of diabetes include:

  • Kidney failure (diabetes is the leading cause)
  • Foot problems that can lead to lower limb amputations
  • High blood pressure, high triglycerides, high levels of “bad cholesterol,” and low “good cholesterol”
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Nerve damage
  • Gum and mouth problems
  • Retinopathy (the leading cause of blindness in American adults)
  • Hearing loss

Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus includes a group of metabolic diseases in which blood sugar rises above normal over time. Blood sugar is regulated by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin regulates your blood sugar and allows your body to use sugars and carbohydrates from your food as energy and store any excess energy as fat. Diabetes has two possible causes — either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin (insulin deficiency), or the cells of the body are not responding properly to the insulin produced (insulin resistance).

Types of Diabetes

  1. Type 1 diabetes accounts for roughly 5% of all cases of diabetes in the United States. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin. Without insulin to let glucose into the cells, the body can’t get the energy it needs. People with Type 1 diabetes are “insulin dependent,” meaning they must take insulin to live.
  2. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95% of cases of diabetes. This condition develops when the body starts to resist the insulin it produces and stops carrying glucose into the body’s cells. The pancreas tries to compensate by making more insulin but over time, it can’t keep up with the body’s increasing need for insulin. As a result, excess sugar starts to accumulate in the bloodstream causing long-term damage.
  3. Prediabetes is the early stage of Type 2 diabetes, in which blood sugar is consistently above average but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes can delay the onset or prevent it from developing through lifestyle changes and medical oversight. Prediabetes is a call to action. If no action is taken, in time, it will likely progress to Type 2 diabetes.
  4. Gestational diabetes is a form of Type 2 diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and usually goes away after childbirth. However, 50% of women who develop gestational diabetes go on to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

There are no known preventive measures for Type 1 diabetes. Known risk factors include:

  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with Type 1 diabetes
  • Age — Type 1 diabetes usually develops in children, teens, or young adults, although you can get it at any age
  • Caucasian ancestry — in the United States, Caucasian people are more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes than people of other racial backgrounds

Prediabetes & Type 2 diabetes

Prediabetes itself is a risk factor for diabetes. Left unaddressed, it progresses to Type 2 diabetes. You could be at risk for prediabetes and 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 had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby who weighed over nine pounds
  • Are African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
  • Have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Gestational Diabetes

You could be at risk for gestational diabetes if you:

  • Have had gestational diabetes before
  • Previously gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Are overweight
  • Are 25 years of age or older
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Are African American, Hispanic, or Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander

Learn more about your individual risk for diabetes by taking our fast, FREE online risk assessment now.

Help is Here

Ventura County has experienced a significant rise in Type 2 diabetes over the past decade. The percentage of our population diagnosed with diabetes rose from 7% in 2011 to 11.1% in 2021. In addition, Ventura County has a high percentage of people who belong to two risk groups: those who are 45 or older and/or those of Hispanic or Latino descent. Fortunately, there’s a local resource for treatment, education, and support: Community Memorial Healthcare.

Community Memorial Healthcare’s Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) program is the only accredited diabetes education program in Ventura County. This means our program has met the exacting standards necessary for accreditation by the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES). Accreditation recognizes high quality and service in diabetes care and education and allows for coverage by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and most private payers.

Our DSME program team includes a registered nurse (RN) and a registered dietitian (RD), both of which are Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES). They take a collaborative, comprehensive, whole person approach to diabetes care and education, meeting people “where they are” in terms of age, general health, and knowledge of their condition. The key to our approach is lifestyle modification, which helps reduce insulin resistance, lower A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and reduce heart attack risk. Our program covers:

  • Understanding diabetes
  • Nutrition
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Understanding how medication works and taking it as prescribed
  • Physical activity
  • Risk reduction problem solving and healthy coping skills

Our team offers sessions in person or via telehealth, and we offer education in multiple languages. If you think you are a candidate for our DSME program, ask your primary care provider or endocrinologist for a referral. You can also call us directly at 805-948-6225 for more information!

Interested in learning more now? Listen to a podcast about our program with Community Memorial Healthcare’s Manager of Population Health, Wendy Amaro.