Published on March 19, 2019

Silver Cross to Host Diabetes Alert Event March 26

Nearly 10 percent of Americans have diabetes, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. And, according to the American Diabetes Association,  every year that number increases by 1.5 million diagnosed cases.

“To understand how to treat it, we must first understand what it is and how it affects your body,” explains Dr. Maher Mourad, an internal medicine physician with Silver Cross Medical Group and on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “Your body naturally changes the foods you eat into sugar or glucose, which triggers the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts as a doorway that opens your cells, allowing that glucose to enter, which your body then uses as energy. When you have diabetes, your body fails to do this process on its own.”

Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes are the most common forms of this disease, and chances are you know someone with one of these conditions.

Type 1 diabetes is also commonly referred to as “juvenile diabetes,” meaning that it has early onset, striking its victims in childhood. Only 5 percent of the diabetic population has this form.    

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and begins when the body does not use insulin properly, a condition known as insulin resistance. The pancreas naturally makes insulin, but begins to overproduce insulin when it realizes that it isn’t being used properly. Over time, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand for insulin, and outside intervention is needed in the form of medication, insulin pumps, and major lifestyle changes.

Finally, gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. “While women are pregnant, their bodies are constantly changing, not only physically as the months pass, but internally as well,” he added.  “The influx of pregnancy hormones can cause insulin resistance, which can, in turn, complicate an otherwise healthy pregnancy.”

And while insulin itself doesn’t cross the placenta into the baby, glucose can and does. The baby’s body then uses this glucose by storing it as “fat,” causing babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes to have higher birth weights.

“Current diabetes research shows there are over 8 million undiagnosed cases of diabetes each year and nearly 10 times that number of people who are living with prediabetes and don’t even know it,” Dr. Mourad said.

Left untreated, diabetes can cause major complications to your health, even death. The good news is that it’s easy to get screened; in fact, it can be as simple as a finger stick or a blood draw. It’s also important to lower your risk factors by eating nutritious foods and getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week (or one-half hour per day).

Diabetes Alert March 26

The Diabetes Center of Excellence at Silver Cross Hospital began in 1996 with a commitment to promote health and well-being and act as a resource center for individuals with diabetes and their family members. A team of specially trained nurses and dietitians works closely with patients and their physicians to develop a personalized program, teaching participants essential information and skills for managing diabetes.

If you or a loved one needs assistance with their diabetes management or would like to schedule an appointment, please call 815-300-5990. Silver Cross will once again participate in the American Diabetes Association’s American Diabetes Alert Day on Tuesday, March 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside the hospital’s Seasons Dining Room on the lower level.

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.