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November 9, 2013

November is National Diabetes Month

NORMAN — Diabetes is a challenging disease that affects not only the person with the disease, but the entire family as well.

November is designated as national Diabetes Month and is a time to help families learn how to work together to help manage this disease. This year’s theme is Diabetes is a Family Affair.

There are three types of diabetes. Type I diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin. This is a problem because the body needs insulin to take the sugar from foods you eat and turn them into energy for your body. A person with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin or use insulin well. A person may need to take pills or insulin to help control the condition. This is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a condition some women develop when they are pregnant. It usually goes away after the baby is born. However, even if it goes away, these women and children have a greater chance of developing diabetes later in life.

Family support is crucial when it comes to managing diabetes and preventing other serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage possibly leading to amputation and even death.

Nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes and another 79 million adults have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition that increases your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. It’s also important to realize if you have a family history of diabetes, you’re at risk for developing it.

In an effort to combat this disease, there are lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health, particularly if you are at risk. This is where family support is so important.

It’s no secret making lifestyle changes can be hard to do, but with your family supporting you, encouraging healthy eating and exercise, it certainly is a step in the right direction. Strong family support helps people with diabetes cope with the day-to-day challenges associated with this disease. Managing diabetes isn’t easy, but it can be easier with family support and setting goals and making a plan.

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