November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. That’s 1 in 11 people. In the U.S., 88 million adults or 1 in 3 has prediabetes but most don’t know it. You may have diabetes or know someone who does. Diabetes can impact every area in your life. If you have diabetes, this month is a good time to share your story with others. You could also consider sharing about prevention, support, and resources.
This month provides an opportunity to raise awareness about diabetes risks and prevention. Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Losing weight by eating healthy and being more active decreases your risk of diabetes by more than 50%. This month, the National Institute of Health is focusing on preventing diabetes, with their campaign Small Steps Big Difference. They have resources you can share for people at risk for diabetes and those who have prediabetes. Remember, small and consistent changes are the most effective in the long run.
There is a Diabetes Prevention Program for adults with prediabetes, women who had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) but are not currently pregnant, or anyone who scores high-risk (score of 5 or higher) on the Prediabetes Risk Test. This is a lifestyle change program for one year to help prevent and delay type 2 diabetes.
These resources may be helpful to you or someone you know who has prediabetes or is at risk for type 2 diabetes.
While diabetes can be a daily checklist you don’t have to do it alone. People with diabetes need diabetes education and support. Diabetes management should include on-going support to help you maintain but also grow. Support can come from a variety of ways including:
- Your healthcare team. When you have diabetes, your healthcare team should include diabetes providers, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, providers who specialize in eye care, foot care, dentists, and if needed physical therapists or mental health counselors. Tell your healthcare team that you need support.
- Family and friends. Share your feelings about living with diabetes with your family and friends. Tell them specifically how they could support you.
- Peer support. Find a diabetes support group or online community to get support and connect with other people who are going through what you are. You are not alone with diabetes. Check out this resource list from Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.
Depression, anxiety, and diabetes distress are often cited as the top three psychosocial issues for people with diabetes. If you are struggling with any of these, talk with your healthcare providers about options for treatment and support. ADA has a Mental Health Provider Directory with mental health providers who specialize in diabetes. Be open to change and asking for support.
Share your Resources
It’s important to both receive support and give support when able. Managing diabetes involves lifestyle changes, technology, and medications. You are the expert in managing your diabetes and there are many resources for people with diabetes. Think about education programs, books, websites, social media, podcasts, apps, or online communities. Some of these resources include behavior change, social support, and sleep, exercise, diet, glucose, and medication tracking. There isn’t one resource that works for everyone. Think about what features are the most useful to you for day-to-day management. Resources you use could be helpful for others. Consider sharing and start a discussion by asking other people with diabetes what resources they use.
In honor of National Diabetes Month, take time this month to share your story, support, and resources.