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Let's Help Stop Diabetes during American Diabetes Month

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels as a result of defects in the body's ability to produce or use insulin. In 2006, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death according to U.S. death certificates. In that year alone, over 72,500 people died with diabetes as an underlying cause.

There can be a variety of complications associated with diabetes of cardiac nature such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Diabetic retinopathy is not uncommon and causes vision impairment and in some cases, legal blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and in 2005, there were nearly 179,000 people with end-stage kidney disease either living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Over 60 percent of people with diabetes experience mild to severe nervous system damage known as neuropathy due to nervous system disease. Sixty percent of all non-traumatic lower extremity amputations occur in people with diabetes due to decreased wound healing and nerve damage.

These statistics illustrate the known fact that diabetes is not simply a condition but a disease with deadly consequences. Because of this realization, in 2009 the American Diabetes Association launched a national movement to Stop Diabetes. The goal was to raise awareness about the disease by gathering the support of millions of Americans to raise their hands to help confront, fight, and help stop diabetes. Perhaps you have already seen this year's new Stop Diabetes PSA with Bret Michaels. If you haven't, more than likely you will in coming weeks during American Diabetes Month. Nearly 24 million adults and children are worrying, testing, treating, and fighting the silent epidemic that is diabetes. Here are some ways you can join the movement this November.

Share - Enter the Share Your Vision to Stop Diabetes Video Contest by creating a 30-second video that demonstrates your commitment to changing the future of diabetes. Be sure to include the "stop" hand symbol, which is the sign of the movement. Submit your video between now and November 30, 2010 and you might win an Apple iPad.

Act - More than 814,000 people have joined the movement to Stop Diabetes including Bret Michaels. If you or someone you love is living and thriving with diabetes, act this November to show your support. A variety of corporate supporters are offering a variety of promotions to support the cause. Purchases will benefit ADA to help fund diabetes research, outreach programs and educational materials. If you have diabetes, perhaps you would like to put your support into action as a Red Strider. Many states have already had their walks for this year but it is never too early to start planning for 2011.

Learn - Learn more about diabetes to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Continue to develop healthy diet habits and a successful fitness program and working toward maintaining a healthy weight. Become familiar with symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and talk with your medical provider any time you notice new or concerning symptoms.

Give - It will not only take money but also time and effort by many committed people if we are going to stop diabetes. While funds will help research efforts, time and effort are just as important to provide education and to spread the word as a diabetes care advocate. If you or someone you know "lives to rock and rocks to live" the Bret Michaels Special Edition Bandanna might be for you. Perhaps the red paisley design bandanna with quote would be a great holiday gift while also supporting the Stop Diabetes cause.

The American Diabetes Association estimates a national cost to diagnose diabetes in the United States to be around $174 billion. The cost to care for someone with diabetes is $1 out of every $5 in total healthcare costs. The human costs are much higher. Take time this November to become more aware of the importance of diabetes prevention and control.

Do you or someone you know live with diabetes? What additional actions do you think could be taken to support them and help them thrive?

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I was in the hospital 21 months ago with a blood sugar of 810 and A1C of 13.8% with the help of my Diabetic Doctor, nurses, Nutritionist and SparkPeople I was able to make this disease dormat in my body. My blood sugar now averages 88 and my A1C is 5.5%. We can reduce the numbers with ACTION, let's get the word out. Report
nice read Report
Thanks for the interesting article Report
Good info Report
I am type 2 and working on keeping my numbers low. I did lose over 20 pounds and have 30 to go. I am working on getting my numbers down but it's a hard struggle. I know I can succeed and I will try my best to get off of this medicine. Report
Great article. I have Diabetes 2 and still trying to work with it. Report
Thanks for being writting such an encouraging post.


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I have Type 2 Diabetes. My nephew's mom died from complications of Type 1 Diabetes. Report
I have been living with diabetes for more than 40 years and because of that I kept my wt. under 130 Lbs. until the age of 40 since than I have been sick and taking med. that make me fat but now the disease is not controlling me I decide to stop no corticosterois no more I am in pain every day but I am happy because I am losing wt. at home my husband and family has been sick more than 20 years also my brother who has been living and taking care of hime for the past 15 months he is under medical care and taking med for high sugar levels and insulin every day + slinding scale for regular insuline Report
I believe more emphasis should be put on defining, diagnosing, and distinguishing between diabetes that develops because of poor diet and exercise habits, and that which develops due to defects in a person's pancreas and how their cells function.

I have a very strong opinion that diabetes that can be "cured" by improving diet and increasing exercise should not be labeled as Type II, but have its own designation (Type III or ~3?). There is enough of a difference between cause, onset and treatment to warrant a different title.

Plus, having "Type 3" diabetes clarifies the personal responsibility one has for dealing with their condition and reversing its progress. I don't want to seem harsh - this applies to me too! My fasting blood sugar is sometimes over 100, and my doctor has said I am "almost pre-diabetic."

I know if I develop diabetes, I had the tools, resources and ability to prevent it; unlike my husband, who has never been overweight and is physically active, but was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in his 30's. Despite very tight sugar control, he has a failing kidney and damaged eyes.

I believe others in MY situation - whether pre-diabetic or officially diagnosed - should take responsibility for their behavior. I hope if I am ever diagnosed, I can use this "Type 3" designation (in my own mind if need be), to motivate me towards the better lifestyle and eating/exercise habits I'd need to be "cured." Report
My father was a diabetic for 40+ years before he died. He managed it better than anyone I've ever seen and still ate "forbidden" foods on occasion. My only fear is that I will inherit this terrible disease, that's one of the reasons I need to lose weight and be healthy! Report
My sister (as a teen) and mother-in-law were diagnosed within a week of each other that they were diabetic--sister--type I and mother-in-law--type II. Neither one kept their diabeties under good control, denying it and not always checking their sugar level. It is ironic that both are MaryAnn's. MIL died at 64 yrs in 1997 with pneumonia but had many problems with her feet, eyes and kidneys--they were so bad she was suppose to be on dialysis diet which she only followed part of the time. My sister is 12 yrs younger than me (not even 50 yet) and she has problems with her eyes and kidneys plus other complications caused from her diabeties. She has finally realized that she better start taking care of herself or she is really going to have problems so she is exercising and losing weight. Now our family is faced with the fact that one of our granddaughters has been diagnosed as Type I diabetic and hopefully she is realizing to start with that if she takes care of her body, she can have a long, healthy life. I have shown her the SP website and hope she will participate with Spark Teens. As they live over 3 hrs from us, all I can do is encourage her by phone and when they visit, also passing along good recipes. We pray a cure is found in their lifetimes. Report
Thanks for the support, and keep going everyone. Too many have or are getting this disease and it needs to stop! Report
I don't have diabetes and I'm getting my fat off to make sure I don't get it either. That is all what my goal is about. Diabetes is a really BAD illness. Even what I have had - Insulin Resistance/Metabolic Syndrome has been bad enough. I don't want any of it. Report
I just lost my Mom this past Tuesday after 30 years of diabetes. I pray they find a cure for this disease. It was very hard on her little body and she finally decided not to continue with dialysis. May God take my Mother in his lovings arms and give her peace. Report
Finally after many, many decades of denial my Mother, who I absolutely ADORE was faced with surgery and subsequent healing issues. It wasn't until then she had her epiphany. Now as she is approaches 80 years of age does she realize how much she has missed in the area of good health. People/patients who face a chronic disease/disorder such as diabetes should understand the partnership they have with their health care providers. You MUST contribute to your own healing/recovery by being compliant. After all YOU must live with you on a daily basis...your provider may see you as well as a multitude of other patients monthly, yearly or "whenever," so what about the in between time? What are YOU doing to contribute to YOUR well-being? Diabetes is a complicated disease that needs your cooperation. Sometimes we don't realize how bad we feel until we start to feel good! Please don't let that "diabetes domino" fall. It always leads to so many other things. Knowledge is power! Know your numbers! If your numbers are high...comply! Report
My Type 2 diabetes is now under control thanks to Spark, the Spark nutrition tracker and the Spark Diabetic community. Way to go for me!

Pat in Maine. Thanks Spark! Report
I control my type 2 diabetes by eating low carb. My blood glucose levels are in the normal range and I take no meds at all. I strongly suggest Atkins to control/prevent diabetes. Report
I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic a year ago in August. As of my last blood tests in October, my blood sugar readings are normal. I have worked very hard to control this without medication. Diet, exercise and losing 53 pounds have worked for me but as often commented on is SP, this is an ongoing battle and one I am committed to continue. Report
I just got my blood sugar level back (fasting), it was good, but on the high side. I'm interested to see what happens as I change my nutrition and fitness. Report
I have been a diabetic for 10 years! My mom was one of those people in 2005 to be diagnosed with end stage renal failure. She died in 2008. It took me until now 2010 to realize that I really needed to be serious about taking care of my diabetes. I think about it now and wonder about the long term damage I have caused to myself because I was in denial! Even after watching my mom suffer. Thanks to finding SP, I no longer take insulin; and have lost 45 pounds. Diabetes is a terrible disease - Please take the time to register for "Stop Diabetes". And, if you have a loved on or friend suffering from Diabetes encourage them to take care of themselves. Report
I think prevention of diabetes is of prime importance. It diminishes your quality of life. But also, some people can reverse their symptoms of diabetes: it can go into remission with proper diet and exercise. More people should know about that. Everyone should be made to feel like they can make the necessary changes to live more healthfully. And it should start before they are diagnosed with something like this. Doctors need to work harder at helping their patients eat properly. My great-grandmother suffered terribly from this; first with becoming legally blind, and not being able to enjoy any of her former hobbies, and later needing to have kidney dialysis regularly, before she died. I currently have three family members who have diabetes. I just want to add one thing, DO NOT visit kidney dialysis centers as a field trip to see the horrors of this first hand. The patients will feel uncomfortable with your boldness, they need their privacy, and shouldn't feel like zoo animals. And those places need to be kept as sterile as possible, with no outside germs coming in. Many patients get infections as a result of their dialysis, and I don't think any should be coming from visitors that have no real reason to be there. Leave those places alone, that is absolutely the worst idea, NJ_HOU. Report
we need to learn so much more about what can be done to help others with this problem . yes i have it . my mom had it and all my aunts on both sides of my family . Report
I think positive is more relevant than lectures. The only other recommendation I would advise is for people to visit dialysis clinics which should put the fear of not handling diabetes into people. Personally I think diabetes is also a genetic disease, research is coming out on this finally in the form of telling people about Insulin Resistance. However, the nurse's penchant to lecture can never be waylaid it appears from the comments. Report
i'm an old retired nurse who worked with an out of college, brand new r.n. who had diabetes. she would eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted and didn't care because she had an insulin pump inserted just beneath the skin. she would get her blood glucose readings and if they were elevated just pump herself with insulin. she also got the position of diabetic nurse clinician. now doesn't that just give you a smile. Report
Thanks for the article. I have Type 2 diabetes. I have been controlling my blood glucose with diet, exercise and Metformin. However, my glucose levels are not coming down enough. So, instead of taking more oral medications (drugs) I have decided to take insulin. I've got an appointment to see my certified diabetes educator who will teach me what I need to know to use insulin safely and effectively.

I decided to take insulin because it doesn't harm my liver and kidneys like drugs do. Report
As a senior on insulin I do believe the drug companies could do a better job of bringing down the cost. I have taken the same two insulins for many years, and every year, like everything else, the cost gets higher. Why can't it be like the generics that keep getting lower as time goes on. I live on Social Security and my cost for insulin, needles, lancets and strips each month runs about $880. That doesn't include the other medications I take. The drug companies know you have to have it.....so It's big business as far as I'm concerned. Pretty dang mean in my opinion, and that's putting it nicely. Report
I don't have diabetes. I don't want to be diagnosed with diabetes. That is one of the reasons I joined SP. To lose weight, exercise, and eat healthy to prevent the type of diabetes you can get from an unhealthy lifestyle. I have friends with diabetes. One has Juevenile Diabetes, one acquired gestational diabetes and it never went away, and one has diabetes from an unhealthy lifestyle and continues with that unhealthy lifestyle. All three are insulin dependent. Two of them eat healthy and are very cautious about their disease. I think I the main thing I've done is start participating in a healthy lifestyle myself. I'm hoping to set an example for my friend who doesn't take care of himself. Report
How about offering to be their walking buddy or exercise partner. Sometimes the "reverse psychology" angle works too. Ask if they will be your exercise buddy and it might be more appealing. This is really helpful for the newly diagnosed who may not yet be in the habit of exercising and not quite sure where to start. Report
My father recently learned that he is diabetic and for me it is the complete opposite. He has encouraged me by the way he is eating (has never really ate healthy in his life) to take better care of myself and make better choices. He still has problems with the green stuff (he doesn't like much of it) but he is working on what he can and can't eat and it really makes me strive to want to eat healthier. He is a very positive influence on my diet right now! Report
We had company one night and my daughter (gestational diabetes at the time) and another person who has diabetes were talking about it and doing their testing. They decided for fun to check everyone's level and my daughter's mother-in-law's was off the chart. She went to the doctor the next day and after testing found she definately has diabetes and is now on insulin. Found out sort of by accident - had not really had any symptoms. It is something that needs to be checked periodically. Report
Yes - this is important. Report
My best friends aunt died last month due to complications of diabetes- she left behind a 6 year old son. Let's do all we can to combat this disease, that takes people down in their prime. Report
I really wish the article was more about how to STOP and/or PREVENT diabetes. Like the title of the article suggests... Most diabetics know that diet and exercise is what they need... being a caregiver to elderly people.. most of my clients KNOW whats expected of them but don't know the first steps to take or how to get started... Please this article needs much more added to it to be considered a complete article... half the story is missing and thats too bad... Report
To encourage them to keep up with the healthy eating & taking care of themselves. Report
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