November is National Diabetes Month, a time for everyone to come together and bring attention to this nation-wide health concern. In partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, this year’s focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Adults with diabetes are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than people without diabetes. That is a startling connection considering that more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 4 people don’t even know they have it!
Two types of diabetes
Type 1 is typically diagnosed in children and occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin to support bodily function. Type 1 is rare and only makes up about 5% of all diabetes cases in the US. It is brought on by an autoimmune reaction and is difficult to prevent as there are few known causes or risk factors.
Type 2 is commonly diagnosed in adults and occurs when the cells become resistant to insulin. Type 2 makes up 90-95% of all diabetes cases in the US. People typically develop type 2 diabetes due to lifestyle factors, though there may be a genetic link as well.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Unhealthy dietary choices
With the nation’s ongoing medical advancements and an increase in the availability of health education, diseases like type 2 diabetes should be disappearing. However, in the past 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes in the US has more than doubled, troubling the healthcare community.
Despite the nation’s best efforts, type 2 diabetes is becoming more prevalent, along with childhood and early adult obesity rates. Health observances like National Diabetes Month help us, as a nation, come together and face this illness head-on with awareness and education.
Donate to the American Diabetes Association this month to help support research for a cure and improve treatment options for Americans everywhere.