What is National Diabetes Awareness Month

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Now that November is upon us it is the perfect time to discuss just what is national diabetes awareness month.

Well, to put it simply, it is a time when all across the country communities come together to bring awareness to diabetes and take action to tackle this modern diabetes epidemic.

Yes, I said epidemic because quite frankly that is what it is.

More and more people are diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes every day.

The recent COVID-19 global pandemic has created even more urgency because diabetics are at greater risk of developing more serious complications such as pneumonia and they are almost 3 times more likely to die in hospital.

Did you know that one in three Canadians has diabetes and that by age 20 you have a 50% chance of developing diabetes?

That is staggering and is the reason I referred to diabetes as an epidemic across Canada and globally.

We are fast approaching 2021 which brings us to the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.

As a nation, Canada can’t afford to ignore the impact of this chronic disease on individuals, families, communities, our healthcare system, and our economy.

We need to spread awareness, educate the public, find a cure, and put an end to diabetes in our homes, communities, country, and the world.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

I have become absorbed in learning about diabetes ever since our grandson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in June 2019. He was 4-years-old at the time. I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Getting that call from our daughter stating they were at the hospital with Alex and he had just been diagnosed.

To say that day was life-changing for our whole family is a vast understatement.

We are just one family of millions who are affected every day by diabetes.

It forever changes the way you do everything.

What is National Diabetes Awareness Month - glucose testing supplies and pen needle for insulin injections

Seriously, you can’t just decide let’s all head out for a fun hiking adventure:

  •  We need to check Alex’s blood glucose to ensure he isn’t too low to exercise.
  • We need to pack his testing supplies and insulin.
  • We need the appropriate food to treat a low.
  • We also need food that is safe for him to eat if he is high.
  • And we need to check him frequently while we are hiking, cycling, sailing, any adventure we choose to embark on.

The thing is, with diabetes you always have to be prepared for every situation at every moment of every day and night with no time off, ever.

More and more people are being diagnosed every single day and we need to educate people.

People need to understand the symptoms of diabetes so they or a loved one can get the medical treatment they need and deserve.

Just in Canada alone, by the time you reach 20 years of age you have a 50% chance of developing diabetes.

That is a scary statistic.

What is even scarier is the number of people walking around out there who are diabetic and don’t know it.

It could be you, your friends, your parents, your siblings, or your children and most of us don’t know the symptoms to be aware of.

Until Alex was diagnosed, I had no idea what the symptoms of diabetes were.

My mother had Type 2 diabetes and I still didn’t know the symptoms.

We need to get this knowledge out there.

This is why communities all across the country will be hosting events in an attempt to bring awareness and knowledge about diabetes to the public.

November 4 is Diabetes Educator Day

November 4th is a day set aside to thank the diabetes educators for the tireless work they do day in and day out.

Whenever someone is diagnosed with diabetes they work with a diabetes educator to help them understand their disease and learn how to manage it.

Diabetes educators will also work jointly with parents and schools to ensure children with diabetes can be safe and as healthy as possible while getting an education.

They also work with various coaches in kids sports to bring awareness so the kids who wish to partake in sports have coaches who know what to do when sugars are low.

I am so thankful for the diabetes educators that worked with my daughter and son-in-law when Alex was diagnosed and when he started school.

They are always available to answer questions and I personally tip my hat to them.

They are doing a fantastic job.

November 14 is World Diabetes Day

What is National Diabetes Awareness Month - World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day occurs on November 14th and is a global event as well as the official United Nations World Health Day which unites the global community.

Diabetes Canada together with JDRF will light the province of BC blue on World Diabetes Day to bring awareness.

Remember to wear blue and snap a photo for social sharing using #EndDiabetes.

You will see my photo on my FB, Twitter, and Instagram on Nov. 14th and I hope to also see yours.

What are the symptoms of Diabetes?

We all love our families and want the very best for them. That includes good health. This is why it is important to recognize the symptoms of diabetes. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek medical advice immediately:

  • frequent urination
  • excessive thirst and drinking a LOT
  • extreme hunger
  • extreme fatigue
  • blurry vision
  • cuts or sores that don’t heal properly or take longer to heal

It was the frequent urination and excessive thirst that alerted our daughter that Alex might be diabetic. She made a doctor’s appointment and her fears were validated. He was diagnosed that very day when her doctor sent them directly to the hospital after doing an in-office finger poke.

Type 1 diabetes

What is National Diabetes Awareness Month - insulin pen needle

Type 1 diabetes used to be called Juvenile Diabetes because it is usually diagnosed in children and teens although it can be diagnosed later.

In type 1, the person’s immune system attacks and kills the insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas. When this happens the person can no longer produce enough or any insulin.

Insulin is important because it is essential in order for our muscle cells to be able to absorb the glucose from the food we eat to use as energy.

Without insulin, the glucose will accumulate in the blood reaching dangerously high levels risking DKA(diabetic ketoacidosis) a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is often caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices and obesity.

While they still produce insulin their body becomes resistant to and is unable to effectively use it causing the buildup of glucose in the blood.

Again, high blood glucose levels over a prolonged period can cause several complications.

Treatment of Diabetes

As Canadians in 2021, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Frederick Banting.

Thanks to Frederick Banting and his team, type 1 diabetics no longer face a death sentence with the diagnosis. They can live happy, healthy, productive lives simply by taking daily insulin injections.

Naturally, insulin has been improved upon through the years since.

What is National Diabetes Awareness Month - healthy diet

Type 2 diabetics often can be treated with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Some medications may be required and they may need insulin in the future.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes be sure to work closely with your diabetes care team and follow all their advice. Take all medication as prescribed.

“I am not in any way a medical practitioner, please do not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another healthcare provider. We only share our experiences.”

Final thoughts

Hopefully, we are all a little more aware of what is national diabetes month.

With diabetes increasingly on the rise not only in North America but worldwide, it is important to educate the public about the symptoms.

It is frightening to think about how many people are out walking around undiagnosed.

Having the proper medical care will help prevent many of the complications of diabetes such as heart disease and vision problems to name just a few.

Properly managing diabetes not only saves lives but it can improve the quality of life for those who have diabetes.

You can be sure I will be and I hope to see you there.What is National Diabetes Awareness Month - World Diabetes Day

Were you aware of the symptoms and treatments of diabetes?

Do you or someone you know have diabetes?

Help spread the word and support your diabetic friends or family members by wearing blue on November 14th, World Diabetes Day, and snapping a photo. Share that photo on all your social media accounts using #EndDiabetes.

Share any tips or advice in the comment section below.


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6 thoughts on “What is National Diabetes Awareness Month”

  1. I wasn’t really aware of the symptoms of diabetes apart from excessive thirst. It’s good to know in case any family member develops it. I also didn’t realise the amount of care you need to take if you develop diabetes. Sounds quite a marathon to make sure Alex keeps well! I’ll look out for world diabetes day on social media and news channels. I hope your grandson continues to keep healthy after his diagnosis. Thanks for sharing:)

    Reply
    • Thanks for dropping by Kathy. You are right to realize the importance of understanding the symptoms of diabetes so we may be able to helo family or friends get treatment if they develop any symptoms. It does seem like there is a lot involved with diabetes management but it doesn’t take long before it just becomes a part of every day and you don’t even realize you are doing it. Alex is a pretty healthy boy in spite of diabetes. We often say Alex may have diabetes but diabetes doesn’t have Alex. He is a trooper and I am so proud of how well he has adjusted. Take care.

      Reply
  2. A friend of mine has diabetes, and he had several of the symptoms, the most notable one, cuts that didn’t heal well … He is now taking care of his diet and he has medication, + insulin injections.
    It is scary that nowadays there are so many cases of diabetes. Is it mostly due to the unhealthy eating habits we have? Can diabetes be prevented with a healthy diet? I never knew the difference between diabetes type 1 and 2, now it’s finally clear to me.

    Reply
    • Hi Christine. I am sorry to hear your friend has diabetes but am glad he is now taking care of himself. Yes, it is scary that there are so many people being newly diagnosed each day. Type 2 diabetes is often caused by poor lifestyle choices and can often be prevented and sometimes reversed by making healthy lifestyle changes such as eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise. Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with lifestyle choices and is actually caused by the immune system attacking the insulin-producing cell in the pancreas. This means the person can no longer produce the insulin their body needs. This is the type our grandson has. My article “What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes” explains the difference in more detail.

      Reply
  3. Hi Deb, I hope to remember it and will wear blue November 14th!
    I wished that governments gave more attention to lifestyle advice instead of putting all their cards on vaccines and medication.

    I am well aware medication is necessary for Diabetes type 1 and am truly glad there is medication for it. But the numbers you share and knowing type 2 is due to lifestyle choices horrifies me.

    That, and the way the world is poisoned. Because why is it they can’t control the pandemic and why are those numbers going up in the present day?

    Sorry, I am a bit down today, not my usual cheerful self. I’ll do better next time. Promise 😊

    Reply
    • I agree with you, Hannie. There does need to be more emphasis on teaching the value of healthy lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, governments around the world seem to be in bed with ‘big pharma’ so to speak. It is a sad day when profits and votes are more important than human lives. The numbers for the increases in type 2 diabetes are horrifying and type 1 is also on the rise. As for this pandemic, all we can do is our best to keep ourselves and our families as safe as possible. It is heartbreaking not to be able to visit our children and grandchildren on the other side of our country. I don’t know where we are heading but it is certainly scary. Sorry to hear you are down. I hope you feel better soon. Take care.

      Reply

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