November 14, World Diabetes Day.
Usually you want to celebrate when there’s a day devoted to something right? Yeah, there really isn’t anything to celebrate with this one. Instead, this day was designated to help raise awareness on the effects and complications caused by diabetes.
What is diabetes? It’s a disease in which the body is not able to properly process food for energy. So what does this mean? Many of the foods we eat turn into sugar (glucose) for our bodies to use as energy. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to help shuttle the glucose into the cells of the body. If you have diabetes, the body either doesn’t make insulin (type 1 diabetes) or doesn’t produce enough or is resistant to the insulin it makes (type 2 diabetes).
So why do we need to raise awareness of this disease? Hmmm, it might have to do with the fact that one in eleven people have it. One in eleven – that is 415 million people. Or because every 6 seconds a person dies from it. Or maybe because it can lead to many serious complications when left untreated. In fact, the cost of treating this disease has increased 41% in five years to over $245 million. That’s one expensive disease.
But here’s the good news. While there’s no cure for it, and there’s currently no prevention for type 1, there are some things you can do to decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes. By making healthy changes to your lifestyle you can take control of the modifiable risk factors.
As a clinical dietitian, I see my fair share of diabetes patients. And I have seen first hand the devastating effects this disease can have on people. And it’s not pretty. So I get why we need a day to raise awareness. Do you get it now too?
Listen up folks – it’s time to take this disease seriously. Why don’t you try and do your part so you don’t become part of the statistics.
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