The month of November is American Diabetes Month. This is a time for all diabetics and non-diabetics to join with the American Diabetes Association in an effort to prevent and diminish the complications of diabetes. Why is there an entire month dedicated to one medical disease when there are so many health problems in the United States?
Well, diabetes is currently impacting the lives of 26 million children and adults in the United States. There are another 79 million Americans who are pre-diabetic, which means having a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Diabetes Association published the following statistics:
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease, blindness, and lower limb amputations.
- One patient will be diagnosed with diabetes every 17 seconds.
- There are more patients who lose their life to diabetes than AIDS and breast cancer patients combined.
- 1 in 9 patients currently has diabetes.
- 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes in 2050 unless measures are taken to stop diabetes.
This is not to discourage patients and their family members, but rather to realize diabetes is a huge problem. The good news is that there are ways to prevent pre-diabetic patients from getting diabetes as well as methods to diminish the complications in the already diabetic patient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given the following tips on how patients can control their diabetes as well as diminish the complications of diabetes:
- Stopping the use of tobacco products.
- Be physically active for 2 ½ hours each week to help maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
- Get the flu vaccine since diabetic patients are at a higher risk.
- Work with your health care provider to control blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
These are definitely some lifestyle altering changes, which for some patients will not be easy to make, but putting forth the effort will help with the prevention and control of diabetes.