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Diabetes affects millions of Americans–and it may even affect you, a loved one, friend or neighbor. Diabetes is a serious disease and can be scary for someone who is newly diagnosed or struggling to manage it. National Diabetes Month gives us a chance to learn about diabetes, teach others what we know and reach out to support those who are suffering from this disease.

Did you know?

  • 25.8 million Americans (children and adults) have diabetes–that’s 8.3% of the population.
  • It’s estimated that 7 million people have diabetes, but don’t know it.
  • Almost 2 million people are diagnosed with diabetes each year.
  • 26.9 percent of people age 65 or older have diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and is caused by genetics and unknown factors.
  • Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in adults and is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.
  • Being overweight isn’t the only risk factor for getting type 2 diabetes, you may also be at risk if you have a family history of diabetes or you are part of an ethnicity or age group that is at higher risk of getting diabetes.
  • If you are overweight and have diabetes, losing weight (even just 10-15 pounds) can help to improve your blood glucose. Work with your doctor to create a diet and exercise routine that is right for you.
  • There is no cure for diabetes. Once you have been diagnosed as having diabetes, it will never go away, but it can be managed by diet, exercise and medicine.
  • Being diagnosed with prediabetes doesn’t mean you will automatically become diabetic. You may be able to avoid getting diabetes by losing weight and exercising at least 30 minutes a day, lowering your blood glucose.
  • Getting a cold or the flu can make your diabetes more difficult to control, so make sure you get a flu shot each year.
  • Diabetes can lead to dangerous complications: kidney disease, blindness, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, nervous system damage, and amputations. It is important to work closely with your doctor and do all you can to manage your diabetes.

These facts and statistics from the American Diabetes Association are only a small fraction of the issues faced by those who are living with diabetes. If you or a loved one has been newly diagnosed, it can be overwhelming and scary. It is hard to know where to start and what to do. The most important thing to know is that with the help of a doctor and the support of family and friends, it is possible to manage diabetes and live a long and healthy life.

Look for upcoming posts to our BestofHomeCare.com blog throughout the month of November for more information, advice and stories about living with diabetes.