Some might find it ironic that the first day of the observance of American Diabetes Month is the day after Halloween, a nationwide sugar fest. In reality, it is the perfect time to bring awareness to this silent disease, as everyone will be thinking about the candy they just ate and the goodies they want to eat during the upcoming holiday season.
Facts and Figures
According to the American Diabetes Association there are almost 26 million people with diabetes living in America and almost 80 million who are at risk. Although diabetes kills more people yearly than AIDS and breast cancer combined, many people still do not consider it a serious threat. Some estimates project that, by 2050, it is possible that one out of every three Americans will be suffering from this disease if something does not change.
The ADA has several online resources you can visit to learn more about the disease. The Facebook page has a Type 2 risk assessment and pledge to help reduce your own risk. The risk assessment only takes a few minutes, and it provides users with feedback on how to reduce their risk. At Stop Diabetes, there are a number or resources designed to educate the general public and help people communicate the seriousness of the disease to others.
As a medical professional, you are in the perfect position to help your patients or clients learn more about diabetes. Utilize the resources provided by the American Diabetes Association and think of ways you or your office can help people become more aware of the risk diabetes poses to their health. Pharmacies can hold free diabetes screenings this month and post informative displays. Physical therapists can talk about the dangers diabetes poses to mobility and the warning signs to look for with their patients. Teachers can bring in healthcare specialists to discuss diabetes with students and send home flyers with information for parents.
What about you?
In addition to educating and caring for others, you also need to take care of yourself. If you have any of the risk factors consider getting screened for diabetes this month. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include:
- Above the age of 45
- Blood pressure greater than 140/90
- Excess weight
- Exercising less than three times weekly
- Family history of diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- HDL of less than 35 mg/dL
- Metabolic syndrome
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Triglyceride levels greater than 250mg/dL
What will you do for yourself and others to help stop diabetes this month?