November is American Diabetes Awareness Month
By Grace Huang, Benefits Analyst
1 in 11 Americans has diabetes. Because of its prevalence, it is wise to educate yourselves about this disease and its risk factors. Common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, extreme fatigue, feeling thirsty or hungry, blurred vision, weight loss, cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, and tingling/pain/numbness in hands or feet.
Type 1 diabetes
Only 5% of people with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes. It is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. People with Type 1 do not produce insulin, a hormone that your body needs to get the glucose in your bloodstream into the cells of your body. Treatment for Type 1 includes insulin therapy, exercise, and meal planning. Regular exercise is highly recommended as it stabilizes blood glucose levels. Managing your food intake and consulting with nutritionists would be highly beneficial as different foods affect blood glucose levels in different ways.
Type 2 diabetes
This is the most common form of diabetes. People with Type 2 have a condition where their bodies do not use insulin properly. The pancreas may produce extra insulin initially, but over time it is unable to make enough insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes may be managed by eating healthy and regular exercise, but it can be accompanied by diabetes pills and/or insulin as well.
Women may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This happens when the hormones from the placenta are causing insulin resistance, making it hard for the mother’s body to produce and use insulin. Gestational diabetes may affect you and your baby so it is best to start treatment right away. This form of diabetes typically goes away after the pregnancy, but these mothers are at risk to develop Type 2 diabetes in the future.
People who have diabetes are at risk for several serious health problems like kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke, foot complications, and Ketoacidosis. A major component of managing diabetes is to check your blood glucose levels often. Whether you experience high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) or low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), the best practice is to detect and treat it early on. Other ways to manage this disease include developing healthy lifestyles, maintaining strong communication with experts, and building a solid emotional support system.
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