For the past 46 years, the United States has recognized November as National Diabetes Month to bring awareness to the disease. But now, as we exit the Thanksgiving holiday and begin thinking about consuming all the rich foods of the remaining holiday season, the attention has never been more critical than it is right now. Believe it or not, more than 30 million Americans live with diabetes, and another 88 million have prediabetes. Put simply, research, understanding, and effective treatments are critical. 

In this article, we’re giving you three effortless ways to stay aware of your risk of diabetes. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or not; awareness and education are the first steps to a cure.

Diabetes Awareness is the Key to Improving Care

According to the CDC, diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body makes or responds to insulin. There is no cure for diabetes, and treatment is mainly limited to diet control, oral medications, and insulin. There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes – This type of diabetes can happen at any age but is most often diagnosed in children and teenagers. Insulin is needed for Type 1 diabetes. 
  • Type 2 Diabetes – This is the most common type ofdiabetes and is typically diagnosed in adults. Type 2 Diabetes may not cause symptoms but is preventable. 
  • Gestational Diabetes – This type of diabetes is specific to pregnant women who have never had diabetes before. Gestational diabetes typically goes away once the baby is born but could increase a mother’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

Three Ways to Get Stay Aware

Though it’s the eighth leading cause of death in the country, 20percent of Americans with diabetes don’t even know they have it. Proper awareness, attention, and understanding can save the lives of millions. Whether or not you’ve ever been diagnosed with diabetes, you can step up and help:

Take an Online Assessment

Do you know your risk of developing diabetes? Certain factors can increase your risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, and know about them. Organizations like the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the International Diabetes Foundation are now offering free online health assessments to help you determine your diabetes risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even has one available for finding your risk of developing prediabetes.

Prioritize Your Health

How seriously do you take your health? Regularly seeing a doctor is an essential part of preventing diabetes and diagnosing unknown cases. They are most exact at figuring out your diabetes risk and helping you make decisions that lower it.

And, if you don’t have health insurance yet, open enrollment for insurance began this month and continues through the holiday season! TrueCoverage offers more than 50,000 affordable health plans, with a large portion free through government subsidies. Active, reliable healthcare is the first step to a healthy life. 

Participate with a Blue Circle Selfie

The “Blue Circle” has become synonymous with diabetes awareness. It was developed as a fun, engaging way to promote attention to the disease. Consider snapping a Blue Circle selfie with an app or with a simple filter online to show you support for diabetes awareness. The Blue Circle is guaranteed to start conversations around diabetes, and that’s what needs to happen!

Ending the Diabetes Stigma Begins with You

Diabetes comes with differences, but that doesn’t mean negativity needs to surround it. To improve health outcomes for people with diabetes, we must end the stigma surrounding it. Through National Diabetes Month and beyond, focus on simple ways you can do so, including:

  • Using people-first language
  • Amplifying the voices of those with diabetes
  • Not placing blame
  • Sharing your personal story
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