Slepian Smith, PLLC

Get educated: November is Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and its purpose has a lot more meaning than National Pizza Day, Best Friend Month or many of the other observances that have grown popular in recent years.

The purpose of Diabetes Awareness Month is to educate the public about all types of diabetes and to advocate for people affected by the disease. Like many diseases, there are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about diabetes. Now is a great time to get educated with facts.

What are the different types of diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. There is also a third type called gestational diabetes, which affects women during pregnancy.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body destroys cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. This results in elevated blood sugar levels and can cause short-and long-term damage to the body if not treated.

Type 1 diabetes can affect anyone and is believed to be caused by genetics and environmental factors.

Type 2 diabetes comes on more slowly than Type 1 diabetes. It begins with insulin resistance, which means the body cannot use insulin efficiently. Eventually, high blood sugar occurs after insulin production decreases.

Factors such as genetics, lack of exercise and being overweight are believed to contribute to Type 2 diabetes, but the exact cause is unknown.

Gestational diabetes occurs only when a woman is pregnant and the body produces insulin-blocking hormones, causing blood sugars to rise.

Who is affected by diabetes?

As you can see, the different types of diabetes can affect a wide range of people, from young to old. Diabetes affects all races and genders, and there is no way to tell if someone has diabetes by looking at him or her.

Too often, it is believed that people with diabetes did something to deserve the condition, but this is simply not true. No one wants to develop diabetes, and there are usually factors out of the person’s control that contribute to the disease developing.

How is diabetes managed?

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed with careful and persistent effort by sufferers their doctors and their loved ones. People with Type 2 diabetes may be able to reverse the symptoms in some cases, but Type 1 diabetes is a chronic illness.

In cases where any type of diabetes or related conditions cause or could cause a person to miss work for at least 12 months, the person may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits to help supplement lost income.

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