• Kirsten Smith

Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes Awareness Month

Updated: Nov 1



November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Throughout November my blog, along with many other organizations, will bring attention to diabetes and share crucial information about this disease. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who have to deal with this disease daily, as it runs in my family.


While diabetes can be managed with lifestyle changes a lot of individuals aren’t aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes. 1 in 5 people won’t know that they have diabetes and 8 in 10 people don’t know that they have pre-diabetes. Keeping this in mind, I think it’s highly important that I talk about diabetes this month.


In this post, I’ll help educate you about diabetes so you can keep your family healthy. You need to know what signs and symptoms to look for so you can prevent serious health complications and successfully live with this disease!


What is Diabetes?


People with diabetes can’t produce insulin or don’t produce enough. Insulin helps regulate glucose levels and get glucose into your cells. When glucose stays in the blood, blood sugar rises.


Over 37 million people in America suffer from diabetes while 96 million have pre-diabetes. This disease directly affects your blood sugar level and leads to high blood sugar.


Over time, if your blood sugar is not managed, you can develop a range of health issues. This includes nerve damage, heart issues, foot and limb injuries, and other serious problems.


Personally, I believe Diabetes Awareness Month is so important because of the health implications of the disease!

Types of Diabetes:


There are three main forms of diabetes. I’ll be going over each type briefly so you can understand how this disease impacts people on an individual level here:


Type 1 Diabetes


Type 1 diabetes is found in children and young adults and is an autoimmune disorder. People with this disease cannot produce their own insulin and need to take insulin every day in order to live. Only 5 to 10 percent of the population has this type of diabetes.


Type 2 Diabetes


Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Most people develop this type of diabetes in adulthood. This form of diabetes is usually caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and can be managed with healthy habits. Around 90 to 95 percent of people have type 2 diabetes.


Gestational Diabetes


Finally, gestational diabetes is caused by pregnancy. Women who have never had diabetes can develop gestational diabetes while they are pregnant. Usually, this type of diabetes goes away after women give birth, but it can increase your risk for type two diabetes.


What Are The Signs of Diabetes?


Since diabetes runs in my family, I try to stay conscious of my health. Remember, even if you don’t have diabetes, you can develop prediabetes. This is where your blood sugar is elevated but it isn’t high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.


During Diabetes Awareness Month, I think it's especially important to look out for signs and symptoms, so you can keep your health in check. I would even suggest getting a diabetes screening. Again, many people miss the signs and don’t realize they have this disease. I suggest looking out for these signs:

  • Increased levels of thirst

  • Increased levels of urination

  • Blurred vision

  • Fatigue

  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet

  • Shortness of breath

  • Nausea and abdominal cramps

If you have all of these symptoms, this could mean that you are suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a serious diabetes complication that occurs when your body isn’t producing enough insulin. Talk to your doctor if you think you have DKA!


How Can You Manage Diabetes?


Diabetes is a chronic disease that will affect people throughout their life. Managing this disease is crucial especially if you want to live a long and healthy life. How exactly can you make sure that you are dealing with your diabetes in a healthy way?


I’ll talk about some healthy habits people with diabetes should consider following to keep their diabetes from becoming worse or even life-threatening.



1. Eat a Balanced Diet


Eating a balanced diet is key to regulating your blood sugar. Doctors recommend that people with diabetes eat foods with plenty of protein to keep their glucose levels low. Carbs, fatty foods, and high-sugar foods should be avoided!


2. Exercise on a Regular Basis


Exercise is another way you can keep yourself healthy with diabetes. When you stay active your blood sugar will drop, and you can prevent other complications that are associated with diabetes, such as stroke, heart attack, and obesity.

3. Manage Your Stress Levels


You might not know this, but stress does affect your blood sugar levels. It’s easy to get stressed out with all your responsibilities. You want to learn how to manage stress in a healthy way. Doing this will ensure that your glucose levels stay stable!


4. Educate Yourself


Educate yourself about diabetes. I know how hard it is to find time to learn more about your health. As someone with family members with this disease, I see the importance of diabetes education every day. Learning how to stay healthy and manage your diabetes effectively will improve your quality of life in the long term!

5. Set a Routine


Finally, set a routine for yourself. Plan when you are going to eat, when you’ll exercise, when you’ll inject yourself with insulin, and other important habits that will keep your blood sugar level in check. You can discuss this with your doctor if you need help.


What Are The Treatment Options for Diabetes?


Currently, there is no cure for diabetes. Treatment options for this disease do exist though, and I’ve researched some of them for you here. You can help keep your diabetes manageable through:


Insulin: People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes use insulin to regulate their blood glucose levels. This includes using insulin pumps, syringes, pens, and an artificial pancreas.


Lifestyle changes: As I talked about extensively, people with type 2 diabetes can treat and control their diabetes with healthy habits such as exercise and a balanced diet.


Oral medication: Along with exercise and a good diet, your doctor might recommend taking oral diabetes medication to control your blood sugar levels.


I found a great page with more information about diabetes treatment. You can learn a little more about these treatment options and other treatments being proposed here.


Diabetes Resources and Closing Thoughts on Diabetes


If you have diabetes or know someone with diabetes, I suggest doing some more research about this disease, as you want to make sure you have all the information you need. There are some great resources for diabetes that I will list below:

All of these resources should help you understand diabetes and its effects on your body and life. You don’t want to wait until you’ve damaged your health to learn more about diabetes. Instead, take preventative measures to protect yourself from this disease during Diabetes Awareness Month! Most cases of diabetes are preventable; you just have to take the right steps to maintain your health.


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