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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month, bringing attention to diabetes and the impact on millions of Americans.

An estimated 29 million Americans have diabetes and 382 million people have it worldwide. Diabetes has become one the nation's top chronic health conditions.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.

Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Awareness is the first step toward more funding for research, more understanding about the disease and better education to help save a life.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

Some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed. Common signs of diabetes include urinating often, feeling very thirsty and extreme fatigue. Blurry vision, weight loss and tingling or pain in the hands and feet are also common symptoms.

Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active, but even if you don’t need medications at first, you may need to over time.

Diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the country.

Raising awareness in November can alert people who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes to make healthy changes and lower their risk by more than half. Early detection can also decrease the risk of developing complications from diabetes.

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