By Roy Collins
In the month of November we get to celebrate the peak of fall and the beginning of the holiday season. But as we get excited for pumpkin pie and football, we should not forget November is also Diabetes Awareness Month, and take the proper time to assess where we are in our fight against this disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, and another 86 million have prediabetes, putting them at risk of developing T2D. Prediabetes is a growing epidemic. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion. On a state level, in West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, the prevalence of diabetes is over 8 percent.
So What? Even though chronic illnesses such as diabetes aren’t as big of a hot-button issue as certain pervasive infectious diseases, its deadliness cannot be denied. According to the CDC, we as a country are largely failing to provide one another with the proper information to combat diabetes: just 6.8 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes in 2011 or 2012 were given diabetes self-management training.
We need to take it upon ourselves to find innovative ways to manage diabetes through positive health interventions. On an individual level, blood glucose testing reminders, minding one’s diet, and a commitment to exercise are ways to take diabetes management into one’s own hand. As a society at large we should continue to invest in new technologies and outreach into communities where disease incidence is high and available information is low.
This Diabetes Awareness Month, we should each use not only the remainder of this month, but the remainder of the year and further to promote our cause to create change. A series of small yet effective interventions will go a long way towards managing diabetes in the most successful way possible. It is up to all of us to continue investigating the best methods and ideas to accomplish our goals.
American Diabetes Association, NPR