November is a special month dedicated to spreading awareness, encouraging education, and dispelling misinformation about diabetes. November 14th is World Diabetes Day, as it commemorates Sir Frederick Banting’s birthday. Sir Banting, along with Charles Best, are the scientists who discovered insulin.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. There are mainly three types: type 1, type 2, and gestational (diabetes during pregnancy), as well as prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk for medical complications due to the development of other health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetic neuropathy, eye issues, foot problems, and dental disease. Diabetes has no known cure but can be properly treated and well-managed, allowing many diabetics to lead long, healthy, and active lifestyles.
Why is Awareness Important?
According to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Health, an estimated 11 people out of 100 have diabetes in the United States. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports that diabetes is on the rise nationally and internationally. The disease’s impact is observable in the health of individuals, families, societies, and economies.
What Can You Do?
This special month of activity can serve as a springboard for both diabetics and non-diabetics to learn more about the disease and to participate in advocacy for those living with the disease. The Hamden Library Podcast will devote a special episode in November to this important topic. Here are some more resources to help:
- Watch “Blood Sugar Rising”, a PBS documentary on America’s hidden epidemic
- American Diabetes Association
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- World Diabetes Day
- International Diabetes Federation
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Diabetes