American Diabetes Month is coming to a close. The theme of this year's observance was very personal as the one in 11 Americans afflicted with diabetes were invited to share their stories about living with the disease through social media and #thisisdiabetes. There were stories of parents caring for children, individuals responding to a crisis, everyday management tips, images of healthy meals, and endless stories by loved ones who were champions for a grandmother or father or neighbor with the disease.
Just Stop It!
In the United States, someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 23 seconds. The latest count reports that there are 29 million Americans who are living with diabetes. Almost triple that number, 86 million, are living with a prediabetic condition.
Diabetics and health professionals want to stop diabetes in its tracks, and some of the best minds in the world are working on it. But there is at least one thing any individual can do to contribute to the cause.
Ask your local congressman to make a stand against diabetes by supporting:
- Increased funding for the National Institutes of Health's "National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases" (NIDDK). NIH is the primary federal agency conducting research on diabetes and developing the latest treatments and potential cures.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Division of Diabetes Translation" (DDT). The CDC's program strives to educate communities about diabetes and alleviate the burden of the disease for families caring for and supporting a loved one with the disease.
- The National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP). This organization is a public/private partnership. It provides prevention programs specifically aimed at those who are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This program has proven to be highly effective at reducing the number of newly diagnosed diabetes cases.
Getting your voice heard is easier than you think. All you have to do is click here to sign a petition that sends all three requests to Congress.
What Gets In The Way
Often, even though individuals are aware that diabetes is an incurable disease that bears many risks, misinformation causes people to remain un-involved and unconcerned. Perhaps if the public was made aware of more truth and less fiction, the U.S. would see more vigorous public action:
FICTION: It's not really that serious of a disease.
FACT: Diabetes is a killer disease. Annually it kills more people than AIDS and breast cancer combined.
FACT: Being diabetic almost doubles your chances of a heart attack.
FICTION: Some people only have diabetes a "little bit."
FACT: The condition "a little bit of diabetes" does not exist. ALL diabetics must learn how to manage the disease or risk serious health complications.
FICTION: Diabetes is genetic, so with no diabetics in my family, I have nothing to worry about.
FACT: There are many more risk factors for type 2 diabetes than just heredity.
FICTION: I don't have any symptoms of diabetes. I'm okay.
FACT: It is common for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to have few symptoms or none at all in the early stages.
FICTION: I only had gestational diabetes. Once I had the baby, the diabetes went away.
FACT: Gestational diabetes not only raises the risk factor for the mother to later develop type 2 diabetes, but also the baby.
FICTION: I'm avoiding a diagnosis because I am afraid I will lose my driver's license.
FACT: The majority of diabetics on insulin therapy safely operate their motor vehicles. Don't be afraid. See your physician.
Coordinated Care Matters
Feeling powerless is another thing that often gets in the way, especially when you suffer with diabetes or care for someone who does. The great news is you don't have to go it alone!
In addition to having regular checkups with a caring physician, those with diabetes can greatly benefit from having care coordination services, such as Chronic Care Management (CCM). CCM services can help individuals effectively manage their healthcare among multiple physicians and facilities, secure and share their medical records, keep up to date with doctors appointments and treatments, and gain access to special services, programs, and resources.
Instead of navigating the healthcare system alone, they are connected to a team of nurses, health assistants, and clinical specialists available to answer their questions and coordinate their care 24/7/365.