By Teran Walford

When you think of November what do you think of? Fall? Turkey? Football? Diabetes? Regardless of what comes to mind when you hear the word November, diabetes is probably not popping into mind. However, November is Diabetes Awareness Month so in light of that I am going to give you a quick rundown on diabetes and important facts.

What is diabetes?

diabetes-528678_1920Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by high blood glucose, meaning that there are high levels of sugar in the blood. People with diabetes experience increased urination, thirst, and hunger.

What is the difference between Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 – also called insulin-dependent, juvenile, or early-onset diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin and are required to take insulin in order to function normally.

Type 2 – most common type (about 90% of cases). People with Type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin for proper function, or cells in the body are insulin resistance and unable to react to insulin that the body releases. This type of diabetes requires being physically active and testing blood glucose regularly and may also require medication.

Facts about diabetes

• Every year in the United States 200,000 people die unnecessarily from complication with diabetes
• 1.1 million people in 2005 died from diabetes. This number may be much larger because people do not know they have diabetes and cause of death is recorded as heart diseases or kidney failure
• Total deaths from diabetes are projected to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years, 80% of deaths coming from upper-middle income countries
• 1/3 of people with diabetes do not know they have it
• It is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults
• People with the disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease than someone without diabetes
• Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents is on the increase worldwide. In some countries, it accounts for half of newly diagnosed cases
• Annually, $116 billion is spent directly on medical expenses for diabetes
• There is a third type of diabetes called gestational diabetes. Women can experience this during pregnancy and have symptoms of hyperglycemia or raised blood sugar.
• Lack of awareness combined with insufficient access to health services, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
• Diabetes is preventable. People with type 2 diabetes may think they are doomed but with only 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days and a healthy diet a person can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Now more than ever it is important to be eating healthy and incorporating physical activity into your everyday routine. With the weather getting colder and holiday dinners quickly approaching make sure you are cognizant of what you are eating and not letting the wintery months get the best of you. You don’t have to hold back on trying all different kinds of holiday foods just keep portion control in mind.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!