November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a time when awareness and attention is brought up to this disease that affects more than 34 million Americans in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Whether you are at risk for diabetes or not, it’s a good time to learn about this disease, understand ways to prevent it and discover how to help others in Addison and beyond suffering from diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way a body processes or produces enough insulin. There is two types of diabetes, Type 1 and 2. Type 1 is when the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Type 2 is how the body produces glucose, it can produce too much or too little.

There’s also gestational diabetes, which is when a women gets diabetes when she’s pregnant. This type of diabetes may go away after they give birth or  it may stay. Regardless, women and kids that are born from gestational diabetes have a greater chance of getting diabetes when they’re older.

The early signs of diabetes are hunger, fatigue, dry mouth and blurred vision. You may be at risk for diabetes if you are 45 or older, have high blood pressure, are overweight, and/or are physically inactive.  Early signs vary for each type of diabetes.

There’s different types of risk factors for Type 1 and 2 diabetes. For Type 1, family history is important. If your parent or sibling suffer from diabetes, it will make you more likely to get diabetes Type 1. For Type 2 diabetes, family history can also matter, as well as your weight and activity level.

If you’re at risk, you can prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes by eating healthy foods and working out regularly. There are also doctor-prescribed pills you can take to manage high blood sugar and high blood pressure, which lowers your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes down the road. Cutting back on smoking and drinking alcohol can also help.

For those with Type 1 diabetes, it can be regulated with insulin injections. It’s also important to stay active and healthy so your insulin won’t get too low or too high. You will need to take insulin as prescribed and not miss any injections.

If you want to help those with diabetes, consider donating to the American Diabetes Association, which advocates for expanded testing, zero dollar co-pay caps and continuous health care coverage. And, if you feel like you may have diabetes, be sure to make an appointment with your healthcare provider today, so you can start getting the treatment you need to manage your life. Living with diabetes is possible, so don’t be discouraged!

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