Did you know that 1 in 11 Americans today has diabetes? Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. This is exactly why the American Diabetes Association marks each November as American Diabetes Month: to bring extra attention to the disease and the tens of millions of people affected by it.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and there is no known way to prevent it. Approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, which means their body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is critical in order for the body to transport glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), requiring treatment to protect the health of the mother and the baby. Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; other may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses.
There’s a way for everybody to participate during American Diabetes Month this November. Share your story, or encourage a friend or family member to share theirs using #ThisIsDiabetes on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.