Today is Diabetes Alert Day, your opportunity to check your own risks for diabetes and alert others as well. Diabetes affects millions and millions (and millions) of people in the U.S. and in the world. Knowing the signs, reducing the risks, and being aware can help everyone.
Type 1 diabetes: an autoimmune disease where the immune system mounts an attack on the pancreas cells that produce insulin. Signs/symptoms include fatigue, extreme thirst, losing weight without trying, frequent urination (peeing), hunger, moodiness, dry mouth, vomiting, labored breathing, or even loss of consciousness. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. While there’s no way to lower one’s risk for type 1 diabetes, it is important to know what to look for. Catching it early could help someone get care sooner and may even allow someone to take part in research studies.
Type 2 diabetes: at least eight factors contribute to one’s risk for type 2 diabetes. Genetics plays a huge role in type 2 diabetes. If any of your family members have type 2 diabetes, get checked! If you gave birth to a large baby (more than 9 pounds), get checked! If you have slow-healing wounds or tend to get infections easily, get checked! The American Diabetes Association has a type 2 diabetes risk test you can take. While there is no guarantee that type 2 diabetes can be prevented, it is possible to lower your risk and possibly even delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Being informed and aware is the first step.
Diabetes alert day – take it seriously!
Facebook claims today is International Women’s Day. I don’t know if that’s a thing or not. I read the line under that announcement quickly and thought it said “Celebrate by creating a non-profit.” What? (It actually said “…by creating a fundraiser for a non-profit.”)
This reminds me of all the non-profits out there for diabetes and other (important) causes. Sometimes I wish we could all simply work together. It starts to feel like too many spokes on a wheel. But then again, can there be too many spokes on a wheel? Does it cause wind resistance and slow us down, or does it actually give us more stability?
At any rate, women’s day, men’s day, diabetes day, or otherwise, I truly believe we’re all in this together. Let’s get to work, keep working – and do our part to make the world a better place for everyone.
Have a great day, whoever you are!
Today is just another day with diabetes for those of us living with it. It happens to also be World Diabetes Day, so many are making a big deal today.
Not just today, but every day we show up, wake up, keep breathing, keep thinking about every little that affects diabetes and every little thing that is affected by diabetes.
Every day we poke fingers, take medications/injections, count carbs, exercise, treat lows, treat highs, think, think, think.
Today I’m thinking about those who don’t have access to insulin and how we can help them. Today I’m thinking about the people who don’t even know they have diabetes yet (and they’ve already had it for years). Today I’m thinking about the people who feel the stigma of diabetes, or are hiding their diabetes, or are ashamed of their diabetes.
Today I’m hoping we can move past all of this. Today I’m looking forward to the time when there’s no longer a World Diabetes Day.
My dad recently asked me about the price of insulin. He said he had read something about how expensive insulin is and was concerned about it. I don’t talk about diabetes with my family very often. They ask an occasional question, I answer, and we move on. Diabetes is never our focus.
But dad’s question got me thinking. I’m incredibly fortunate to have good insurance coverage, while many others do not. Today I was reading an article about the price of insulin and how it has gone up hundreds of percent over the last several years.
How is this possibly ok? Another example of lack of cohesion in health care. My proposed solution: get key players from health insurance, pharma, healthcare, consumers/patients, and government together at one table. Let them talk it out until they figure out the best way to manage costs in health care. They can use lifelines – call or video conference someone into the room who may know more or have a better perspective.
I picture it kind of like choosing the next pope. Maybe smoke is coming out of the chimney. Maybe these people don’t emerge for weeks (food can be delivered…), but they get it done. They consider the best interest of everyone involved, act with transparency, cooperation and good faith, and figure it out.
I believe it could happen.
Today is as good a day as any to take action for diabetes. It also happens to be the inaugural National Day of Action for diabetes, and there are so many things you can do!
- check your BG before and after exercising and participate in the “big blue test”
- visit the ADA’s website and click on “take action”
- make an appointment to see a diabetes educator and learn some tools for managing effectively
- talk to a loved one who is at risk for diabetes about getting checked
- sign up for an exercise program…with a friend!
- try a new, healthy recipe
- join an advocacy group or effort
- volunteer to participate in diabetes research
- give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy some downtime
Take action in whatever way works best for you. Enjoy!
I wrote about a college fair and a college recruiter last week, so I guess it makes sense to continue the theme and write about diabetes in college this week.
If you know someone with diabetes who is finishing high school and heading to college, be sure to let them know about CDN. This non-profit organization was founded in 2009 by a student who didn’t want to feel alone and reached out to others on campus with diabetes. Now CDN is a thriving organization with chapters on college and universities all over the country. Their logo is …for the highs and lows of college life. How perfect is that??
CDN provides support to college students with diabetes, including answers to common questions, online resources, get-togethers with peers on campus, and pamphlets for students and parents. The Off to College booklet offers all sorts of suggestions for the everyday things that come up that a soon-to-be college student or parent of a college student may not even anticipate!
Check out CDN’s website for more information or to help start a chapter today.
I know it’s true for me, and I’ve noticed it in others…those of us with diabetes can get stuck in a rut. We like what we like. I once read “I would die without my pump” and I thought, “That’s awful! What if your pump malfunctioned?” But the more I thought about it, I realized that I would be lost without my blood glucose meter. I’ve been checking blood glucose levels for over 30 years and I honestly don’t know how I would manage without that information. For others that’s a pump or a CGM or a certain medication.
So I’m adjusting my response to the “I would die without…” quote. Now I’m saying I get it! And I think it’s important to be informed about how to manage without it. I also think there are lots of tools out there. For those with type 1 diabetes that includes pens, pumps, injections, carb counting, continuous glucose monitoring, inhaled insulin, and hopefully soon there will be more options. For those with type 2 diabetes there are multiple different medications – all address lowering blood glucose levels from different angles.
Learn about the various options for managing diabetes. Meet with a provider who is open-minded, listens to your ideas and needs, helps you build on your strengths and encourages you to do what works best for you. Use the tools you love, and know how to manage without them (just in case).
I never used to consider myself a hiker. It wasn’t that I didn’t like hiking; I just didn’t do it. And then about five years ago I decided to try a hike (one of several in our local community). It took me 45 minutes to get to the first “bend” – I had no idea how much further it was to the top. In fact, I didn’t get all the way to the top until several months later when I asked a friend to join me (it was spring and I was nervous about meeting a mountain lion, so thought better to have a hiking partner). We hiked all the way to the top and I was pretty proud!
Somewhere along the line I started making that hike every Friday morning. A few friends joined, and now we have a regular “hiking club.” If I’m in town on a Friday, I hike. It has definitely become a habit (and while it’s still a challenge, it’s MUCH easier than those first several times).
When I read a tweet today about making what we learn about diabetes and exercise part of our permanent lifestyle, I thought about what was once hellish for me and now is habit. And an enjoyable one at that – thanks to the company of friends and my muscles getting somewhat used to the task.
My suggestions for incorporating exercise into lifestyle: do it gradually; do something you might enjoy down the line; do it with people you enjoy; stick with it (at least long enough to give it a good chance of sticking). You never know – five years later you might be lost without it.