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Six Ways to Observe National Diabetes Month

By Brian Acton

November is National Diabetes Month, a time of year to call attention to diabetes and the affect it has on millions of lives. As of 2015, over 30 million Americans lived with diabetes and it was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Whether you have diabetes or not, you can do your part by spreading awareness, leading a healthy lifestyle, and providing support to your community. Here are six ways to observe National Diabetes Month.
  1. Educate Yourself
If you already have diabetes, you may be familiar with the immediate impacts to your health and lifestyle. But did you know that 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes annually? Or that over 84 million Americans currently have prediabetes, which is characterized by an above average blood glucose levels and a higher risk of developing diabetes? If you don’t have diabetes, you may not know how the condition works at all, or that there are multiple types. Either way, you can educate yourself using the wealth of resources provided online by organizations like the American Diabetes Association. The better you understand diabetes, the more you can do to prevent or manage it.
  1. Look for Community Programs
Many health organizations and community centers offer programs to help local citizens manage their diabetes or take steps to prevent it. Look for local programs in your area; they may provide useful resources or give you a chance to serve your community.
  1. Prevent or Manage Diabetes
Certain habits make it less likely that you’ll develop diabetes. A healthy diet, consistent exercise, and regular doctor visits can all help you avoid developing diabetes later. Find out how you can avoid diabetes and come up with a plan that fits your lifestyle. If you already have diabetes, your doctor should have given you information or resources on how to manage it. It’s important to follow this advice. You may need to follow a prescribed diet, get regular exercise, monitor your blood glucose levels, and use insulin or other medication.
  1. Find a Local Education Program
Local education programs provide community members with a diabetes educator, who can help you develop your diabetes management plan. To find a local educator, check out the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ database.
  1. Reach Out to Someone
If you have a friend, loved one, or neighbor with diabetes, now could be the right time to reach out to them and lend support. Of course, you should be tactful; not everyone wishes to openly discuss their medical conditions. But if you know that someone is struggling to maintain a healthy diet or get exercise, you can encourage them by offering to participate in the same activity. If you have diabetes yourself, it may be helpful to share your experiences and tips with others.
  1. Spread Awareness
You can spread awareness of diabetes in person or on social media. Educational resources can help people with diabetes manage their lifestyle, improve existing community programs, and help health care professionals serve their patients. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has a great list of resources to share with your local or online communities.  Sources https://www.diabeteseducator.org/patients/find-a-diabetes-educator http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?referrer=https://www.google.com/ https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/communication-programs/ndep/health-professionals/guiding-principles-care-people-risk-diabetes https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/communication-programs/ndep/partner-community-organization-information/national-diabetes-month/promote https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes/50-ways
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