Fall is a time to raise awareness for many medical issues patients around the world experience all year long. Each Friday in November we will be highlighting one of five illnesses that have their awareness month in November.
The first we will be highlighting is diabetes, an illness that impacts over 30 million Americans or nearly 10% of the US population according to a 2015 study by the ADA. Because of the widespread nature of diabetes, the National Institute of Diabetes and other organizations use the month of November to raise awareness.
The importance of a diagnosis
Regular visits to your primary provider can help you stay on top of your health including catching diabetes to make an early diagnosis. Of the 30 million Americans living with diabetes in 2015, the ADA found that 7 million had gone undiagnosed. With an estimated 1.5 million new diabetes patients being diagnosed each year, it is important to begin taking action to treat your diabetes should you be diagnosed.
Caring for our children
The American Family Physicians organization also emphasizes the importance of testing children. With nearly 200,000 children under the age of 20 having been diagnosed with diabetes, it is a growing issue for our youth.
Children are identified as being at risk if they belong to two or more of the following categories: “history of type 2 diabetes in a first- or second-degree relative, belonging to a high-risk ethnic group (defined on ADA website), acanthosis nigricans, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or polycystic ovary syndrome.”
What changes should you make this month?
The US Department of Health and Human Services recognizes that this month is an opportunity to make small changes that can improve your health and help lower your diabetes risk. Finding ways to increase your exercise that fit into your routine like taking the stairs instead of riding an elevator each day is a simple example. They also mention that patients “can get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked – and ask the doctor about their diabetes risk.”
Take this month as an opportunity to speak with a medical provider about your diabetes risk. Set up an appointment this month.