A Time For Reflection: National Diabetes Month and International Diabetes Day

| Nov 1, 2007

Nearly 21 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, and another 54 million people are knocking at that door. Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the nation and may well be the most serious health problem facing America today. Nevertheless, the public doesn't seem to grasp the gravity of the situation, at least not like they did with polio, for instance, or AIDS.

In an effort to focus the public mind on just how devastating diabetes is becoming, we designate November of every year as National Diabetes Month. Within that month is another landmark: the sixteenth annual World Diabetes Day is being observed on November 14 in honor of the birthdate of Frederick Banting, who, along with Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1921. World Diabetes Day was also named a special United Nations Day in 2006, when a landmark resolution on the subject was passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Both the day and the month aim not only to raise public awareness, but also to honor the dedicated people who work with diabetes and the millions who live with it. This year the special focus of World Diabetes Day is on how diabetes affects children and adolescents throughout the world. It's a growing problem, evidenced by both an alarming increase in type 2 in children and an upswing in the numbers of children who are being diagnosed with type 1.

The focus of National Diabetes Month varies from week to week. Week One honors the caregivers and companions whose lives are affected by the diabetes of their loved ones. Week Two focuses on the workplace, encouraging employers to promote healthy lifestyles for their employees in the war on type 2 diabetes. Week Three concentrates on the global epidemic: over 246 million people have diabetes worldwide, and seven million more get it every year. By 2020, the total will be around 380 million!

Week Four emphasizes the devastation that diabetes is wreaking on ethnic populations. African-Americans, Hispanics, and indigenous Americans have especially high rates of diabetes. If current trends continue, one in two minorities born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. The bonus week, Week Five, focuses on children, one in 400 of whom has been stricken with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes is already having devastating human, social, and economic impacts. If things don't change, it could swamp healthcare services in many countries, including the United States. November is a month to come together to reflect on the implications of diabetes, personally, nationally, and globally. Hopefully, our reflections will spur us to take action against this calamitous epidemic.

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Categories: Beginners, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Kids & Teens, Professional Issues, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 2 November 2007

I do not much like the use of "get it" when contracting diabetes. Sounds like I caught it and I did not "get it", more like it got me.

Posted by longterm on 2 November 2007

No wonder people do not take it seriously when health articles and the like make it seem that it is a person's own fault when they become diabetic. Furthermore articles state that if a person gets complications it is their own fault for not controlling the blood sugar well enough. Not all diabetics find it easy to control the the blood sugar. It is a difficult and awkward disease to manage.

Posted by Anonymous on 2 November 2007

I think the point of this article is about recognition of the scale of the epidemic. Let's not get side-tracked here!
World Diabetes Day is an important step in that it shines a light on this huge global problem.
And that's a good thing, because the more light, the more energy - and the more energy, the closer we'll get to cures and better therapy.
Lux in tenebris lucet!

Posted by Rachel~i on 3 November 2007

Everyone who has diabetes or truly understands it knows that it is not black and white. Diabetes is constantly gray and the factors are always changing. It is a constant challenge and people don't realize how serious the disease is. Just because it won't kill you quickly doesn't mean that it should not be taken seriously.

Posted by Anonymous on 3 November 2007

I am tired of not having a normal physiological state.

Sometimes I feel hungry, and eat.
Sometimes I feel tired,
other times I feel energetic.
Other times I feel cranky.

So as my glucose scatter plot shows... no patterns what so ever.

it seems that I do rather fine on average. However since I cannot know exactly what my glucose is unless i test it.

if it's high, take insulin ,if low eat more.

Sometimes I feel full, and it's a normal eating mealtime, and i'm just not hungry.

It's frustrating, and others think and believe that it's just easy.

it really isn't.

Like I can not exercise when I want to, I have to feel energetic.


J. from Nashvegas.

Posted by Anonymous on 11 November 2007

I have been a type 2 diabetic for 4.5 years. I control my blood sugar primarily by a low0carb diet, includinng eggs and ham for breakfast and dsardines aanc cream cheese for lunch. My AA1c is typically 3.3 %. I require minimal diabetic pills.
I am appalled by the usual diabetes advice that recommends a low fat diet, which impolies a highcarb diet. I doubt that any diabetic not on insulin can control his blood sugar well if he uses cereal for breakfast.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 September 2008

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are 2 very different diseases and I almost wish they had different names. I was diagnosed at age 7 with type 1 diabetes and now am on an insulin pump at age 23. Lows and highs seem to live on my glucose meter no matter how hard I work for "normal" numbers. If I only ate a low-carb diet my blood sugars would plummet, I would have no energy, and I'd be in the hospital. If I get sick my blood sugars sky-rocket and even though I eat nothing they may be in the 300's. Diabetes is one of the most troublesome, confusing, frustrating diseases because people who do not have it do not understand what we go through and even those who do have it often go through different symptoms and reactions. There is no quick fix so we all must just keep trying to keep those blood sugars as average as possible. Just keep trying!!!

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