Diabetes Awareness Month

Staff Writer: Brooke Ventura                           

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Nearly 26 million children and adults live with diabetes and another 79 million are at a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes, and each year diabetes kills more people than breast cancer and AIDS combined. As many as 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes in 2050 unless we slow down this disease.

There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers. The beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed them. To treat Type 1 diabetes you can take insulin shots or use an insulin pump. You must make good food choices, exercise regularly, and control your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes; it can develop at any age. It usually begins with insulin resistance, which is when fat, muscle, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. People who are overweight and inactive are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Treatment includes taking diabetes medication, making good food choices, exercising regularly and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Some health problems caused by diabetes are heart attack, stroke, eye problems, nerve damage, kidney problems, and gum disease. Some symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, extreme weight loss, and sudden vision changes. There could be tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, you could feel very tired all of the time, have very dry skin, and infections are more usual. If you find out early that you have diabetes, then you can get treatment to prevent damage to your body.

Besides being older and overweight, these other factors increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes:

  • Having a family member with diabetes
  • Giving birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher
  • Cholesterol levels that are not normal
  • Being inactive
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Having impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance
  • History of cardiovascular disease

Tom Hanks said, “I have high blood sugar, and Type 2 diabetes is not going to kill me. But I just have to eat right, and exercise, and lose weight, and watch what I eat, and I will be fine for the rest of my life.”

Abby Wambach, who plays on the US women’s soccer team, said, “My nephew has Type 1 diabetes, and it’s my goal and hope that in his lifetime there will be a cure for diabetes. There’s no place better to give money to than the Juvenile Diabetes Association.”

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