What is World Diabetes Day?

November 14th is World Diabetes Day. It is a day of awareness of a disease that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have. It strikes mainly middle-aged (45-64 years) and in low to middle income families. You don’t have to be overweight to get diabetes, while in 2005, an estimated 1.1 million people died from the disease.  Diabetes deaths are likely to double in the next 10 years without urgent action.

I am diabetic, and got it genetically from my Grandmother. I could have avoided it if I had not let my weight get over 200 pounds 6 years ago when I was diagnosed with the disease. I was someone who thought nothing could hurt me, that I didn’t need to watch my weight and that I could get into shape at any time. Well, I was wrong and today I worry about being alive to see my kids grow up. That is a tough lesson to learn, don’t learn it the hard way like I did.

So, what is diabetes? Diabetes affects blood glucose levels. Most of the food we eat (carbs) is turned into glucose or sugar for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose metabolize into our bodies. In diabetics the body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up increasing the blood glucose level and disturb the metabolic functions of vital organs in the body. If left untreated, diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, high blood pressure and lower-extremity amputations.

Please think about your health, what you eat and your fitness on November 14th. I wish I had thought about it more when I was younger. To learn more about Diabetes please visit the American Diabetes Association and World Diabetes Day.org

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