Many people learn about diabetes by watching a family member or friend manage the daily tasks of checking blood glucose levels, taking medication, finding time for physical activity, and following nutrition guidelines. But for people who don’t know much about diabetes, American Diabetes Month--November--is an opportunity to learn more about this chronic illness that adversely impacts individuals, families, our communities, our nation, and our world.
“A Day in the Life of Diabetes”
One of the goings-on during this year’s Diabetes Month is an exhibition of photographs meant to illustrate a day in the life of someone with diabetes. This display is sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and you can view or upload these photos by going to the ADA’s Facebook page.
26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, and 3 times that many people (79 million) are at risk for developing this illness! This means that all these folks are at risk for the complications of diabetes: kidney disease, blindness, and nerve and circulation problems. Treatments that control blood glucose levels can help reduce or prevent these disorders but, first, all these people must realize that they have diabetes.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
It just so happens that the ADA has a risk test available on their website. Here are some of the factors associated with an increased risk for diabetes:
previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes (high blood sugar that starts or is first diagnosed during pregnancy)
relatives with diabetes
belonging to one of the racial or ethnic groups known to be particularly susceptible to diabetes: Native Americans, Asians, African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians or others of Pacific Islander heritage
diagnosis of high blood pressure
overweight or obese
Let’s all learn more about diabetes and take the risk test this November. If your risk turns out to be high, promise yourself that you’ll see your doctor so he or she can give you a thorough check-up. And if you know someone with diabetes, consider telling them that you have seen “A Day in the Life of Diabetes” and that you support the efforts of the ADA to stop diabetes.