November 11, 2019
National Diabetes Month
November is National Diabetes Month, which includes World Diabetes Day on the 14th! The goal of this month is to raise awareness of how prevalent diabetes is in the United States and how to prevent or manage it through diet, exercise, and medical intervention.
There are 2 main types of Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2
People with Type 1 Diabetes do not produce insulin.
People with Type 2 Diabetes do not respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often do not make enough insulin to break down sugar and move into muscles for storage.
Both types of diabetes can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels if not managed.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Both types of diabetes, if not controlled, share many similar symptoms, including:
- frequent urination
- feeling very thirsty and drinking a lot
- feeling very hungry
- feeling very fatigued
- blurry vision
- cuts or sores that don’t heal properly
According to the American Diabetes AssociationⓇ (ADA), 9.4% of Americans in 2015 had diabetes (Type I or Type II). That’s 30.3 million people! Diabetes is also the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2015.1 The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. in 2017 was $327 billion, and 1 in 4 healthcare dollars in the U.S. is directly attributable to this disease.2
Prevention & Management
There are an abundance of risk factors of developing diabetes when it comes to genes and lifestyle. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you:3
- Are overweight or obese
- Are age 45+
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Have high blood pressure and/or triglycerides
- Are not physically active
- Have a history of heart disease or stroke
Although you cannot adjust your age, family history, or health history, you can make some lifestyle changes to decrease your risk of diabetes. If you are an adult already diagnosed with diabetes, “you are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes.” To manage your condition and decrease your likeliness to develop heart disease or have a stroke, you can:4
- Stop smoking
- Manage your A1C and blood pressure
- Be more physically active (at least 30 minutes per day) and manage your stress
- Take your medications properly
These same strategies can be used for people who are not yet diagnosed to prevent onset of diabetes. This also includes following a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods.
- Statistics About Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/resources/statistics/statistics-about-diabetes.
- The Cost of Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/resources/statistics/cost-diabetes.
- Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/risk-factors-type-2-diabetes. Published November 1, 2016.
- National Diabetes Month 2019. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/communication-programs/ndep/partner-community-organization-information/national-diabetes-month?dkrd=hispt0948.