Updated on March 13, 2023
According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report on Diabetes Awareness Month, 34.5 million Americans suffer from diabetes while more than 7 million of them remain unaware of their condition.
Living with a lifelong chronic illness that requires 24/7 care is not easy but it’s not impossible either. Being educated and aware of diabetes goes a long way when it comes to effectively managing it. In light of November being Diabetes Awareness Month, we need to raise awareness on this escalating public health crisis and strive towards improving lives that have been affected by it.
November is National Diabetes Month
National Diabetes Awareness Month is centered around World Diabetes Day which falls on 14th November every year. But why November 14?
This happens to be the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting who, along with his assistant Charles Best discovered insulin, which has helped save thousands of lives and helped countless diabetics manage their symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95% of the people who have diabetes; this is no small number. However, the good news is, according to the World Health Organization, type 2 diabetes is preventable by making healthy diet choices and lifestyle changes. This is more in line with what Diabetes Awareness Month is all about. This includes increasing our understanding of the condition, raising awareness about its prevalence to educate people who may not understand the symptoms, risk factors, and ways to manage & curb the epidemic. So, this November, let’s listen, learn and talk about it.
Diabetes is about so much more than just being overweight or eating too much sugar.
It is a lifelong chronic illness that affects people of all walks and life. Without proper management and care, it could lead to serious complications that may be life-threatening. It could put one at risk from cardiovascular diseases, nerve pain or damage, vision problems, foot or limb injuries, organ damage, and other complications that arise due to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. According to the CDC, being a diabetic makes one much more susceptible to COVID-19 as well.
Diabetes also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of metabolic disorders that occur due to high blood sugar. The reason for the increase in blood sugar (glucose) levels is due to your body not being able to produce enough insulin, which is responsible for storing glucose in your cells or instead, using it for energy.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with an existing diagnosis for years, it’s time you surround yourself with the right people to help with your mental and physical health.
Diabetic Community & The Right People: Build Your Support Team
Diabetes can be an intense disease with the road being long and demanding, however, surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to overcoming those obstacles. Surround yourself with people that can help you with your diagnosis and build a support team that makes you feel more at ease and comfortable. Again, having the right people on your side can reduce the burden of this chronic illness, make you feel more empowered and prepared to tackle your condition one step at a time.
No matter the type of diabetes, lack of information and guidance can be stressful and detrimental to your overall health. So, start off with finding a diabetic specialist whom you trust and feel comfortable with. This will change your entire diabetes experience for the better, make the journey less stressful, and it can keep you healthier for your future. Remember, it’s an interview process. You’re seeding out the candidates for the best healthcare provider you could easily work and feel comfortable with. Check to see if the candidate might be a good fit to help you manage your health, ask as many questions as you’d like, and just go with your gut.
Use as many resources as possible to take the burden off of you with your diagnosis. Having a dietitian, cardiologist, or mental health expert can help you feel less overwhelmed or anxious. They might just help you overcome roadblocks on your journey to a healthier and balanced life. A therapist may be able to provide you with the mental health support you need because being diagnosed with diabetes can be overwhelming and a lot to take in. They may be able to help you come to terms with your diagnosis.
Having diabetes puts you at risk for cardiovascular diseases. A cardiologist may be able to assess risk factors that may impact your health and they could help put things into perspective when it comes to your heart health and your diabetes.
There also can be a lot of misinformation about diets for diabetics out there on social media. A dietitian may be able to help you troubleshoot, figure out what foods feel good and healthy, and help you find the right fuel for your body.
Let’s not forget the Diabetes Club. Being a part of this club doesn’t sound like something anyone would want to hear. However, being diagnosed with diabetes, and knowing that there is a community you could always lean on, with some of the most amazing people can help you on your journey to healthy living. You can find others like you through support groups that are both online and offline. And there are many organizations including non-profit ones where you could find the help and support you need like the Beyond Type 1 for people with Type 1 diabetes and the Beyond Type 2 for people with type 2 diabetes.
Never underestimate the power of knowing someone who can listen to you and understand what you are going through.
Another expert to have on your team is you. As you live with your diagnosis, you become a leading expert on your own body. Listen to your body and give yourself time to get acclimated with your condition. The right diabetes specialist will hear you out, honor this and understand that treatments that may work for others won’t necessarily work for you.
Get Involved: Clinical Trials & Research Studies
Want to have a more direct and hands-on approach to helping find relief or treatment for diabetes? Volunteering for medical research studies can help you and countless others.
There are many clinical trials for complications that arise due to diabetes. No one should have to suffer through those complications alone. Doctors and research experts work tirelessly to make cutting-edge treatments and research available. If you or your loved ones suffer from painful diabetic nerve pain, there are clinical research studies that may be able to help.
Diabetes Awareness Month is a time where we all come together to raise awareness and rally against diabetes. Diabetes isn’t going away until we do our part. It is important to take the time to acknowledge the condition and all the factors that can affect it. Learning how to manage your diabetes begins the moment you are diagnosed.
This month, let’s take the initiative to make small and healthy changes that can impact lives for the better. No matter where you are in your journey or what type of diabetes you’ve been diagnosed with, it is never too late to make changes.