National Diabetes Awareness Month
While the month of November may be all about feasting and overindulging during the holidays, it also marks the month of Diabetes Awareness. Diabetes awareness is extremely important, as it helps bring to light the impact that this disease has on a little over 9% of the United States population. Whether one was born with diabetes or developed it later in life, support and education about their disease is vital to improving their day-to-day lives and maybe even one day finding a cure. At Cypress, we wanted to give a brief overview of how this disease affects the daily lives of families all across the country.
To begin, it is important to know exactly how widespread diabetes truly is. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 422 million people had diabetes as of 2014. Compare that to the estimated 108 million people diagnosed with the disease in 1980. Due to a number of reasons, the amount of diabetes diagnoses has risen dramatically and exponentially. These rates can hopefully be reduced by an increase in education and by enacting some healthy habits.
Those who are at risk of developing Type 1 or 2 Diabetes may be diagnosed with prediabetes. Prediabetes refers to when one’s blood sugar is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes. The great news is it is still preventable at this point if proper preventative action is taken right away. One way to prevent it from turning into full-blown Type 2 Diabetes is by simply reducing one’s body weight by about 10-15 pounds and by engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity (this can be as easy as taking a brisk walk). Controlling diabetes significantly reduces the risk of developing further or worsened complications.
Many of the complications caused by Type 2 Diabetes have a very detrimental effect on the lives of sufferers. For instance, diabetes can lead to blindness, limb amputation, and more. Shockingly, a huge chunk of those with diabetes, or about one third, are not even aware they have it until it progresses. This fact highlights the importance of getting your blood sugar levels checked regularly at your primary care doctor. Alongside these physiological effects, a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes can also hurt your wallet. This disease is estimated to cost around $174 billion dollars —$116 billion in the form of direct medical expenses.
National Diabetes Month serves as an important reminder to provide your support to those suffering with diabetes. You can do this through motivating them and by helping them in any way they need in order to control their disease. It’s important to realize that diabetes most likely affects someone you know and that empathy and compassion are vital. Like anyone suffering with a disease, those with diabetes strive to live a normal life, which is completely achievable with the support of their community and continued motivation and love from family and friends.