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Diabetes Awareness Month 2019

November 1, 2019 Read Time - 6 minutes

Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so there’s no better time than now to talk about diabetes and how it affects millions of people every single day. Whether you have diabetes or know someone who does, read on to learn more about this disease, and ways you can get involved in spreading awareness this month.

What is Diabetes?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes can be defined as a disease that occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. While blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is used as your body’s primary source of energy, too much can become a major health issue.

Typically,  your pancreas will produce insulin, which is a hormone that helps glucose get into your cells. In cases of diabetes, you may not make enough insulin, or may not make any at all, resulting in glucose hanging around in your blood and causing high blood sugar levels. This also means that your cells won’t receive the glucose they need for energy.

Let’s take a look at the difference between the two types of diabetes.


The Difference Between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks those important insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. In the case of type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make any insulin. This type of diabetes is typically diagnosed earlier on in life, usually in childhood, and taking insulin is needed for survival.   

Type 2 Diabetes:

The most common type of diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body isn’t making adequate amounts of insulin. Unlike type 1 diabetes, you can develop type 2 at any stage of life.


Diabetes Causes

Type 1 diabetes is more likely to be caused by genetics, and research has even shown that certain viruses may cause the immune system to kick into an autoimmune state, leading to type 1 diabetes. More research is being done on the causes of type 1 diabetes to help develop preventive measures.

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, there are quite a few things that may increase your risk. Genetics, being older than 45, being overweight, and poor dietary and lifestyle habits can all increase your risk. Having high blood pressure and living a sedentary lifestyle can also increase your risk.


Diabetes Symptoms

The following are some of the most commonly seen symptoms of diabetes.

Fatigue

Numbness or tingling feeling in your hands or feet

Blurred vision

Increased thirst

Increased hunger while eating the same amount

Increased urination

Type 1 diabetes symptoms tend to be more rapid, while symptoms of type 2 diabetes can slowly develop. In some cases, those with type 2 diabetes may not even know that they have diabetes at all until they start to experience other issues that come from untreated diabetes, such as vision changes. 


Diabetes Prevention Tips

While it’s not totally clear what causes type 1 diabetes, or what you can do to prevent this autoimmune disease, there are steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes. Here are some of the most important ways to safeguard your health to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Maintain a healthy weight

Avoid sugary beverages

If you smoke, quit

Eat a wholesome and nutrient-dense diet free from as many sugary and inflammatory foods as possible

Steer clear of fried and processed foods, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice, and sweets

Watch your portion sizes. Eating too much can quickly lead to weight gain, putting you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes

Practice stress reduction daily! Too much stress can cause hormone imbalance and may lead to sugar cravings

Maintain an active lifestyle, exercising and moving your body daily. Even just a brisk walk is helpful

Get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in supporting blood sugar levels

Supporting Those You Love With Diabetes

Know someone who has diabetes and wondering how you can show your support?

A great way to show your love and support is to encourage healthy eating, and not by being a nag! Instead, offer to come over and help with a food prep day, bringing plenty of wholesome and nutrient-dense recipes you can make together.

You can also offer to make an exercise plan together and keep each other accountable. Living an active lifestyle is such an essential part of living healthy with diabetes.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is be positive.

Those with diabetes, especially those who have recently been diagnosed can feel stressed out. Offer positivity, asking them what you can do to help, and just being the friend or family member that they can always rely on to brighten their day and offer encouragement.


How You Can Make a Difference

Want to make a difference and help those suffering from diabetes? Start by getting involved with Diabetes Awareness Month!

You can go to Count Me In, created by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to become a volunteer, become an advocate, or join the online conversation. Find your local office here, or call 1-888-342-2383 to join hundreds of thousands of volunteers for the ADA who are making a positive impact on their community through outreach, advocacy, and inspiration. Learn about more ways to get involved on the ADA website.

You can also host a meetup in your area, host a fundraiser, or even just wear a World Diabetes Awareness Month shirt to spread awareness throughout the month of November.

By getting involved, you can help bring awareness to diabetes and continue to help the movement in finding better ways to prevent and treat this condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

Read More About Diabetes Awareness Month


Sources

NIH. What is Diabetes? Accessed November 20, 2019 at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes

NIH. Symptoms & Causes of Diabetes. Accessed November 20, 2019 at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/symptoms-causes

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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