|People with diabetes can still|
enjoy the holiday while
I had a colleague whose daughter has diabetes. I remember times where the young girl forgot to bring her insulin to school, so my coworker would have to drive the medicine over to the school. This additional health responsibility can add stress to an already busy lifestyle. American Diabetes Month is a great time to recognize those American diabetes patients and their caregivers and bring greater awareness to the disease.
What Is Diabetes?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines diabetes as “the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy.” To make a long story short, the body counts on the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin so that the glucose created by the food we eat can get into our cells to be used as energy. When someone has diabetes, the body struggles to make enough insulin or to use it properly. The blood then becomes overloaded with the sugar that is produced whenever we eat.
The three major types of diabetes include:
- Type 1 diabetes (juvenile-onset diabetes)
- Type 2 diabetes (late-onset diabetes)
- Gestational diabetes mellitus (carbohydrate intolerance).
Some other complications of diabetes include high blood pressure, kidney failure, and nervous system disease. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of many of these health issues. According to the American Diabetes Association, “diabetes was listed as the underlying cause on 71,382 death certificates and was listed as a contributing factor on an additional 160,022 death certificates” in the year 2007 alone.
Diabetes Risk Factors
|This photo from MCT News Service|
shows people exercising even in the
People of African American, Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander background may also have an elevated risk of getting a diagnosis of diabetes during their lifetime. If you have additional questions about your own risk for diabetes, be sure to speak with your primary care physician the next time you are at the doctor’s office.
You might be able to avoid, or at least delay, diabetes by eating a healthy and balanced diet that is not too high in sugars and sweets and by getting adequate exercise. Watching your weight, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, and staying active can do wonders for your health in general, but they have been shown to reduce the chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Our Family Wize articles Feeding Type 2 Diabetes and Type 1 Diabetes - Snack Helps have great tips on controlling diet.
Educational Resources Online for Diabetes
If you are an American with diabetes, or know someone who is, you can find a lot of helpful resources online to help you learn all about diabetes. You can stay up to date on diabetes news by checking out the following key diabetes organizations:
- American Diabetes Association
- Children’s Diabetes Foundation
- Diabetes Foundation
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF)
- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)
- World Diabetes Foundation
To keep your diet fresh and delicious, or to help you make a special meal or treat for someone with diabetes, you might want to browse through some diabetic recipes online. Find the best ingredients to enjoy and those to avoid with tips from the American Diabetes Association. Then you can browse many diabetes-friendly recipes at Allrecipes.com, Mayo Clinic, and Diabetic Living.
November is American Diabetes Month, and it's a great time to raise awareness of programs and other resources that can help put a stop to diabetes. Diabetes is a lifestyle change, not just for the patient, but for the entire family as well. Be sure to do some research to make the transition easier, and meet with your doctor about any outstanding questions you may have.
Kathryn M. D’Imperio