26 million is a staggering number to think about. Especially when approximately 26 million children and adults in the United States currently have diabetes. Every November, American Diabetes Month takes place in an effort to focus on the issues that surround diabetes and the many people who may be impacted by the disease. The vision of the American Diabetes Association is for everyone to live free of diabetes and its burdens. As Registered Dietitians and Registered Dietitians to be, our visions certainly replicate that of the American Diabetes Association. The vision shouldn’t end there. Friends and families of those impacted by the disease who are not in healthcare, certainly have a valuable role as supporters and encouragers. Teamwork is the Achilles tendon for diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
1. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is characterized when your body’s immune system, turns against a part of your body. In Type 1 Diabetes, your immune system destroys your insulin producing cells, the beta cells, in the pancreas. Meaning the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use or store the blood glucose it gets from the food you consume. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5% to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in America. (American Diabetes Association, 2011).
2. Type 2 Diabetes occurs when your body cannot properly utilize your body’s insulin, better known as insulin resistance. Meaning, your body does not produce enough insulin or your cells ignore the insulin it produces. Initially, your body makes too much insulin. But, as the disease progress, your body isn’t able to keep up with the extra insulin produced by your pancreas to keep your blood glucose – sugar – levels normal. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in America. (American Diabetes Association, 2011).
3. Gestational Diabetes is diagnosed in some women during pregnancy – more commonly around the 24th week. Gestational diabetes like other types of the disease, affect how your cells utilize sugar. This causes hyperglycemia – high blood sugar – that can affect both your pregnancy and your baby’s health. However, expecting mothers can control the disease through healthy dietary habits and exercise. Gestational diabetes is estimated to affect 18 % of all pregnancies in America. (American Diabetes Association, 2011).
* Talk with your Registered Dietitian and Physician to learn more about the treatments and preventive measures of diabetes.
· Many practicing Registered Dietitians are Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE). A CDE is a heath professional who has both knowledge and experience in prediabetes, diabetes, prevention, and management of the disease. They can help educate you on self-management and behavioral treatment goals in order to optimize health outcomes.
· Some Registered Dietitians also partake in teaching diabetic cooking classes. These classes are great resources to help you learn to create meal plans that work with your schedule and keeps your weight on tract.
· World Diabetes Day is November 14th. You can participate! If you would like to join others in recognizing this day, you can find information on the events for World Diabetes Day on http://www.idf.org/worlddiabetesday.
· In today’s world, resources are endless! You can find great information on the topic of diabetes through the American Diabetes Association. The site posts informative fact sheets and statistics that you can share with family and friends. www.diabetes.org
· Social media is a great tool to get involved. Facebook provides a plethora of awareness pages. Just search diabetes awareness and get connected.
· Just walk! You can get physically active in Diabetes Awareness Walks. Many cities organize events during the month of November in order to raise funds for diabetes awareness and research. Check it out here! http://stepout.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=OUT_homepage
· An awesome event to get involved in is The Big Blue Test. It involves getting your blood sugar tested between now and World Diabetes Day, then exercising and testing your blood sugar again. Then share your results on www.bigbluetest.org. For each blood sugar entered, a donation is made to people living with diabetes who are in need for possible supplies or resources.
· Finally check out www.eatright.org. There are endless resources on nutrition, food, and of course information on American Diabetes Month.
About the Writer
Gavin Van De Walle is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, a NANBF Natural Competitive bodybuilder, and a dietetic student at South Dakota State University. Following graduation, Gavin will pursue his Ph.D. in nutritional sciences while aiming to make a positive impact on the over well-being and nutritional status of the American people along the way.
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"Diabetes Basics." Type 2. Web. 03 Nov. 2013.
"| International Diabetes Federation." | International Diabetes Federation. Web. 03 Nov. 2013.