National Diabetes Month

Are you aware that November is National Diabetes Month? It is a chance to raise awareness about diabetes and encourage people to make health changes. The symbol is a blue circle. Blue represents the sky and the circle is a symbol of unity. National Diabetes Month was actually established in 1975, although Congress and the U.S. presidents didn’t start passing proclamations recognizing November as “diabetes month” until the mid-1980s. American Diabetes Month was trademarked by the ADA in 1997.

November 14 is World Diabetes Day which marks the birthday of insulin co-discoverer Dr. Frederick Banting.

Here are some interesting facts about Diabetes from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases as of 2015:

  • 3 million Americans or about 9.4 percent of the U.S. population are affected
  • 1 in 4 adults have it but do not know it
  • 1 million Americans have prediabetes
  • 9 out 10 adults with prediabetes do not they have it

The International Diabetes Federation says:

  • 199 million women with diabetes
  • 313 million by 2040
  • Leading cause of death among women
  • 2 out of 5 women with diabetes are in reproductive age
  • 1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes

Chances increase for type 2 diabetes if:

  • have a family history of diabetes
  • over age 45
  • overweight
  • are not physically active

What is diabetes? It is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high.  Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone which helps the glucose get into your cells.  Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough, or any, or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Over time too much glucose can cause health problems. There is no cure for diabetes, but you can learn to manage the disease.

Types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes – your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin.  Need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes – your body does not make insulin well. Occurs most often in middle-age and older people. Most common type.

Gestational diabetes – develops in some women when they are pregnant and most of the time goes away after the baby is born. Having had gestational diabetes increases your chances for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Other less common types: monogenic diabetes which is an inherited form and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

Health problem associated with diabetes:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems

Check out the NIDDK website for more information and to take the Diabetes Risk Test and learn more.

More information is available from the American Diabetes Association:
There are many ways you can help spread the word. Check out the following websites to see how you can help spread the word and prevent diabetes.

Ten Ways to Observe National Diabetes Month:

10 Things You Can Do for National Diabetes Month:

It’s Your Life. Treat Your Diabetes Well:

Toolkits are offered on


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