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Diabetes Awareness Day Is All About Education, Says Stamford Hospital Nurse

Jill V. Ely, a family nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator at Stamford Hospital.
Jill V. Ely, a family nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator at Stamford Hospital. Photo Credit: Submitted

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Are you worried you might have diabetes or concerned you're at risk?

Today is Diabetes Awareness Day and so, we went to Jill V. Ely, a family nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator at Stamford Hospital’s Diabetes & Endocrine Center, for some answers.

According to Ely, diabetes is a chronic metabolic illness that occurs when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is the main type of sugar found in your blood and your main source of energy. When your glucose levels are too high, it causes issues throughout your entire body.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1, which used to be called juvenile diabetes, develops most often in young people and means your body no longer makes insulin or enough insulin because the body’s immune system, has attacked and destroyed the cells that make insulin.

Most people --  29.1 million people in the U.S. -- have Type 2. In Connecticut alone, there are 250,000 people with diabetes and another 83,000 who have no idea they have it.

Hence, Diabetes Awareness Day.

"The first step in stopping diabetes is to know your risk of this illness," said Ely. "March 24 is a one day 'wake up call' for people to take an easy risk test. The test will measure your risk for developing diabetes."

Go here to start the process.

The bottom line, she said, is that you can make small changes now to change your health or help a loved one make those changes. "You can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes," she said. "Try to lose weight. Make better food choices. Be more active."

And educate yourself. For more information about the illness and the facilities Stamford Hospital offers, click here .

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