The fight to end this serious disease rages on. Every year people all over the United States walk, bike, and volunteer to raise money in an effort to stop diabetes from continuing to afflict millions of Americans. Yes, I said millions. There are 24 million children and adults in the United States living with diabetes and 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes. November is the month to join the movement.
Diabetes, medically known as diabetes mellitus, refers to a disorder in which the body has trouble regulating its blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. There are two major types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. These cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps convert glucose into energy. When the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood where it can cause serious damage to all organ systems of the body. People with type 1 diabetes must carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and take insulin to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. This type is an acquired form of the illness and can be more easily moderated with diet and exercise. People with type 2 diabetes do produce insulin, but the body cannot use the insulin adequately. Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, however the highest risk is for those who are over-weight or obese, women who have had gestational diabetes, and people with a family history of type 2 diabetes. In addition, people who smoke, have inactive lifestyles, or have certain dietary patterns have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
While there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be avoided and controlled. Be mindful of your sugar intake, exercise regularly, and if you think you may have problems with your blood-sugar levels, have them tested by your doctor. The American Diabetes Associate has donated a portion of their website to help those struggling with diabetes manage their Food and Fitness.
Another GREAT resource for those living with diabetes is DiabetesActNow.
On this website you can watch short, entertaining, and highly informative videos, called Easy Actions, which contain easy suggestions for you to better improve your health. You can also sign up for a free account and receive emails that help you track your progress. The truth is that anyone can benefit from the Easy Actions recommended on this website!
Not enough money or insurance to test your blood sugar levels?? This month there are no excuses? Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, is joining the battle. More than 1,500 stores nationwide will be hosting their first-ever Diabetes Wellness Events this month. Each participating store will host a six-hour walk-in clinic offering free blood glucose testing, free A1C testing, pharmacist consultations, AND Walgreens will donate $1 to the American Diabetes Association for every test performed. Each store’s clinic will be held on one day during either the Nov. 9-13 or Nov. 16-20. To find a Diabetes Wellness Event at a store near you visit the Walgreen’s website. Just type in your zip code and make sure to check the box next to Diabetes Wellness Event.