November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and for the millions of Americans who are at risk for diabetes, this month is an opportunity to get educated, find resources and inform others of their risks too. And for those living with diabetes, it’s a chance to show the world what life with diabetes is like.
Over 34 million Americans – just over 1 in 10 – have diabetes, and another 88 million American adults have prediabetes.
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.
Diabetes is prevalent in seniors, affecting over 25 percent of American seniors over the age of 65. Diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the country.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and means that your body doesn’t use insulin properly. Two key aspects to managing type 2 diabetes is maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. 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.
Type 1 diabetes occurs at every age. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. This condition can also be managed with a healthy lifestyle, exercise and proper diet.
Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. According to the CDC, having type 1 or gestational diabetes may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Your risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is likely to be lower if your diabetes is well-managed, according to the American Diabetes Association. Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and others to further reduce your risk of being exposed to illness. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor and have your glucose reading available as well as your ketone reading and track your fluid consumption.
Heritage Woods of Minooka, an Assisted Lifestyle Community for the Older Adult, 701 Heritage Woods Drive, Minooka, IL, 60447, 815-467-2837, www.gardant.com/heritagewoodsminooka