November is American Diabetes Month. Therefore, it’s an opportunity for greater awareness about the disease that affects 26 million people nationwide. We will discuss American diabetes and how you can help to raise awareness during this month.
American Diabetes Month
There are three main types of diabetes. These include the following:
- Type 1
- Type 2
- Gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)
Type 1 Diabetes
With type 1 diabetes, your body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that acts like a key to let blood sugar into cells for use as energy.
Therefore, if you have type 1 you will need to take insulin every day. These type of diabetes is less common that type 2 diabetes. About 5% of people who have diabetes have type 1. Currently, there is no cure for type one diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
The majority of individuals with diabetes—9 out of 10—have type 2 diabetes. With this type of diabetes, your body does not utilize insulin. It’s also not able to keep blood sugar at normal levels. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can start making healthy changes that will benefit you now and in the futre. If you have any of the following risk factors, ask your doctor at Brashear Family Medical if you should be tested for diabetes:
- Having pre-diabetes (blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes)
- Being overweight
- Being 45 or older
- Having a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
Race and ethnicity also play a role. The following races are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes:
- African Americans
- Hispanic/Latino Americans
- American Indians/Alaska/Natives
- Pacific Islanders
- Asian Americans
If you are overweight, losing a small amount of weight can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, getting regular physical activity can help.
Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, even if it goes away, you have a greater chance of getting diabetes. Your child is also at future risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
In fact, half of all women who had gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
How to Manage Diabetes
Managing your diabetes requires balancing your food, activity, medicine and blood sugar levels. The following are a few guidelines for managing diabetes:
- Follow a healthy eating plan
- Get physically active
- Test your blood sugar
- Give yourself insulin by syringe, pen or pup, if necessary
- Monitor your feet, skin and eyes to catch problems early
- Get diabetes supplies and store them according to package directions
- Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care
How to Raise Awareness During American Diabetes Month
We can use this month to raise awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make healthy changes.
The following are just a few ways you can raise awareness:
- Encourage people to make small changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Talk to people in your community about regular checkups. They can ask their doctor to check their blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as their risk for diabetes.
- Use the hashtag #AmericanDiabetesMonth on your social media posts.
- Join the American Diabetes Association in celebrating American Diabetes Month.
These are just the basics of diabetes. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Brashear Family Medical, contact us with the link below!