Today, 1 in 11 Americans has diabetes. Since 2015, the disease has retained its rank as the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
Here’s a few more facts:
It does not discriminate. It affects male and female, young and old, and people of all races, shapes, sizes and socio-economic levels.
It’s invisible. Although 29 million Americans fight this chronic illness every day, there are usually no outward signs.
Diabetes is more than the medications and devices used to manage it—it takes up both time and money. For many, the disease manages them—how they organize their day, what they eat at every meal, how they choose to be physically active, and how they spend their money. People with diabetes can have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone who does not have the disease.
This disease—and its non-discriminatory, invisible, life-changing effects—make it mission critical critical to foster awareness, break down stereotypes, and provide education about the myths and misunderstandings that surround the disease.
That’s why every November, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognizes, and brings awareness to, American Diabetes Month. This year, the theme is “There’s a Hero in You.” Heroes come in all kinds of different packages—people who live with the disease every day, advocates against the spread of the disease, or caregivers for someone living with diabetes all wear an invisible cape.
Here’s a quick look at three different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults; at this time, there is no known way to prevent it. Approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, which means their body does not produce any insulin, which is critical for the body to transport glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. In order to stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes; it accounts for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight and having a family history of diabetes. Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; others may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults.
- Gestational diabetes approximately 9.2 percent of pregnant women experience high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy, which requires treatment to protect the health of both the mother and the baby.
The ADA website has a wealth of information on diabetes, such as how to prevent it and how to spot possible symptoms. There’s also a place on the website where people who have the disease can write a letter, or make a video or audio recording using the hashtag #DearDiabetes. You can also connect with the ADA on social media on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) along with the Board of Registered Nursing, Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, Physician Assistant Board, Medical Board of California, Board of Podiatric Medicine, Board of Optometry and the Board of Pharmacy are proud to help promote the 2017 awareness campaign efforts of the American Diabetes Association.