November brings awareness to diabetes for another year

Grace Clancy, Staff Writer

November is National Diabetes Month in order to bring awareness across nations. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in school-age youth in the United States, affecting around 193,000 people under the age of 20. World Diabetes Day takes place within November as well on November 14, the date that marks the birthday of insulin co-discoverer Dr. Frederick Banting.  

Diabetes is described as a disease in which the blood glucose, or blood sugar levels, are too high. People receive glucose from food eaten and insulin is the hormone produced that helps the glucose get to the cells to give them energy. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is where the body doesn’t make enough insulin, and Type 2 is typically more common and is when the body doesn’t use the insulin well or there’s too much sugar being consumed. The lack of insulin within the body prevents the glucose from being broken down, therefore, causing sugar to remain in the blood. The excess amount of sugar can cause serious problems such as damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves as well as heart disease and stroke. 

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), National Diabetes Month was established in 1975 but November wasn’t recognized as “Diabetes Month” until the 1980s. Since then diabetes organizations have launched awareness efforts, initiatives and campaigns. For example, in 2015 the American Diabetes Association and the International Diabetes Federation focused on educating people about healthy eating, and in 2018 there was a two-year campaign launched by the International Diabetes Federation as well as many online social media campaigns by other organizations. 

In total 422 million people worldwide have diabetes with 34.2 million in America. There are 1.6 million deaths directly attributed to diabetes each year. Two out of three people with the disease will die from cardiovascular related episodes, such as heart attack or stroke. Over the past few decades, the number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes has been steadily increasing in line with the increasing prevalence of obesity.