November: National Diabetes Month

For over 30 million Americans, this is their everyday reality.

And for 70 million more Americans, it may be their reality in the near future.

There are many assumptions, stereotypes, and stigmas surrounding diabetes, but one thing is clear: it’s an epidemic. More than 100 million adults in the U.S. are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, and a quarter of them don’t even know it.

This is a conversation we need to have. And this National Diabetes Month, we’re going to talk about diabetes and raise awareness about this dangerous—and very often, preventable—disease.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolism disorder that involves high levels of blood sugar. Our bodies extract glucose—a form of sugar—from everything we eat in order to power our bodies. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, helps direct the glucose into the cells that need it to function. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin effectively, the glucose stays in the blood. This deprives your cells of energy, causing significant problems, and leaves too much glucose in the blood, which also causes health problems.

Because it affects the entire body, diabetes is a serious condition. There is no cure for diabetes, but you can follow your doctor and nutritionist’s instructions to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

The two most common forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Type 1 happens when your body doesn’t make insulin at all. This is usually an auto-immune problem; your immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells responsible for insulin production. This form of diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in children and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 – 95 percent of all cases in the US. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin effectively. It’s most commonly diagnosed in middle-age or older, and some statistics show it affects 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65.

Diabetes often leads to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, dental issues, and nerve damage. People who control their diabetes can significantly reduce their chances of developing these conditions.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Think of prediabetes as a warning sign—if you don’t make any changes, you are sure to develop diabetes. On the other hand, you have a very good chance of preventing diabetes if you make some lifestyle changes.

It’s not easy to change to a more healthful diet, lose weight, or exercise regularly, but making those changes as soon as possible can delay or prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes.

This month, join us at Park Crescent in raising awareness of diabetes, its risk factors, and common complications. We’ll also cover the steps you can take to control diabetes and live your best life with the disease.

Please share our blogs with others so we can get the word out this National Diabetes Month.

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