Name just about a prominent health condition and there’s a good chance you’ll find a corresponding day or month on the calendar dedicated to raising awareness about it. That said, few efforts go back as far as those intended to raise awareness about diabetes. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the designation of November as National Diabetes Month is something that dates back to 1975.
In those days, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was America’s favorite car, and “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille was the song of the year. No doubt, times change, but what remains the same today as it did then is the need to keep attention on diabetes squarely in the public eye.
You might even say the importance is “off the charts.”
As it stands, the CDC reports more than 30 million Americans (one in 10) have diabetes. Another 84 million at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The numbers are more than just a cause for concern. For many, they should be a cause for immediate alarm and subsequent action.
Defining the disease of diabetes
Simply put, diabetes is a metabolic disease represented by elevated levels in blood sugar, usually occurring when the body’s natural abilities to make or use insulin fall short. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that diabetes can damage blood vessels and cardiovascular health, doubling the risks of heart attack or stroke in acute sufferers.
Of the different types of diabetes, about 10 percent of people have Type 1, which is defined as an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas. By and large, the remaining number of those at-risk will fall into the Type 2 category, meaning that the body has become insulin resistant.
What to do should it come to you
Old habits are one thing, but former habits are better. Perhaps there’s no better example of how quickly health improves than in the stories of people who quit smoking tobacco or eliminated sugary sodas from their diets. Similarly, making exercise a more dominant part of your lifestyle not only enhances lung function and lowers weight, but it also relieves stress in the mind and on the body.
The spirit gets quite the lift as well!
Taken together, small steps and large ones like those have been proven to make managing A1YC, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels far more effective. If you still have to take BP maintenance drugs, it’s essential to take them every day—without exception. Diet and exercise go a long way, but many need extra assistance from daily medication. There’s never any shame in that game.
November 14th is World Diabetes Day (WDD)
Celebrated globally, WDD was established by the International Diabetes Foundation in 1991 to honor the work of Dr. Frederick Banting, who along with Dr. Charles Best, co-discovered insulin back in 1921. Their pioneering research in the field remains the inspirational starting point for raising awareness about both Type and Type 2 diabetes. Neither could have predicted what their discoveries would mean for health and wellness in the next century, but they would certainly be grateful to know they would be remembered in the fight they started.
At Benzer Pharmacy, we remain mindful of our role in helping to screen for and manage the disease of diabetes. Our clinically trained staff members provide counseling on diet, exercise options, pharmaceutical remedies, and action plans.
Are you at risk for diabetes? Do you think you may already have diabetes? Take this quiz and find out.