The Francis Scott Key Lions are promoting a healthy community through prevention of
diabetes, a chronic disease in which the body has difficulty controlling the level of
sugar in the blood. Over time, too much sugar in the bloodstream can damage key
body parts, such as the heart, eyes, kidneys, toes, feet, and legs, possibly leading to
stroke, blindness, heart attack, loss of limbs, and other problems.

When food is eaten, it enters the bloodstream as glucose, making the blood glucose
level rise. Insulin unlocks body cells to allow the glucose to be absorbed, helping return
the blood glucose level to normal. The glucose is then turned into energy.

Approximately 90 to 95% of diabetics in the United States have Type 2 diabetes.
Among the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are being 45 or older, African-American,
Hispanic or Latino, Native American, or Alaska Native, overweight, having a diabetic
parent or sibling, have ever had gestational diabetes, or have prediabetes. While
symptoms may develop slowly or be mild, many are asymptomatic. Some symptoms
include: blurred vision, increased tiredness, numbness or tingling in hands or feet,
sores that do not heal, very dry skin, unexplained weight loss, and increased hunger,
thirst, and urination.

Diabetics can manage the disease through self-monitoring, medication, a healthy
lifestyle, and checking with physicians.

Prediabetes occurs when the blood glucose level is higher than normal but not as high
as in diabetics. Many people with this condition are asymptomatic; in fact, 8 of 10
adults are unaware they are prediabetic. The condition can be reversed with early
diagnosis and treatment.

Why worry about diabetes? Research indicates that 1.6 million adults in Maryland, over
100 million in the United States, have prediabetes, and 500,000 have diabetes. In
2019, 9%, or 18,806 adults, in Frederick County had Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the
sixth leading cause of death in Maryland, with estimated annual medical costs of $4.9
billion. Diabetes/prediabetes results in $2 billion lost in economic productivity in the
state. Maryland often ranks in the top 25 of states with the highest prevalence of

Diabetes can be prevented by eating healthy, being active, losing weight, getting
enough sleep, managing stress, and quitting smoking. Healthy eating can include
choosing non-starchy vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli
and spinach; fruit; and lean protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, eggs, and
yogurt. Eat whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and steel cut oatmeal. Try healthy
fats such as olive oil and avocado and drink unsweetened beverages and water.

Become more active by selecting a physical activity you like to do, including walking.
As with any exercise program, check first with your physician. The goal is to perform at
least 150 minutes each week of moderate exercise; that’s as easy as 30 minutes five
days a week.

Ask your doctor about your blood sugar and testing through an A1C test, which can be
used to identify prediabetes, diagnose diabetes, monitor treatment, or create a plan to
prevent or manage the disease.

Help make our community healthier!

Diabetes is one of Lions Clubs International’s five global causes: childhood cancer,
diabetes, environment, hunger, and vision. If you are interested in working on any of
these causes, please contact your local Lions Club today.

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