November is National Diabetes Month. With more than 29 million Americans living with diabetes (according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is likely that you or someone you know is dealing with this chronic, potentially fatal disease.
Diabetes is a condition that affects the insulin levels in your body. Insulin passes glucose in the blood into your body’s cells for use as an energy source. For people with diabetes, this important process does not happen as it should. Type 1 diabetes causes the body to produce insufficient insulin, while people with type 2 diabetes cannot use insulin properly.
While diabetes can be managed in many cases, left untreated the disease can lead to very serious complications, including:
· Eye problems and blindness
· Nerve and blood vessel damage, especially in the feet, leading to amputation
· Kidney disease, possibly leading to kidney failure
· Heart disease and stroke
Diabetes is a huge national health problem. In the U.S., it is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputation and adult-onset blindness, and was the seventh-leading cause of death as of 2013, the CDC reports.
The purpose of National Diabetes Month is to call attention to this disease, and remind patients that they are not alone in their fight to live with the condition. By working with your doctor, monitoring your blood sugar and paying attention to your health, it is possible to live a full life despite diabetes.