November is National Diabetes Month

33 years after the life changing diagnosis, what can be said about diabetes that has not already been said? Still, regrettably, the apparent superficial regard for rampant diabetes in our culture is devastating to those who do this dance with diabetes 24/7/365, no break… none. No, really. There is not one moment we are not calculating; blood sugar, the next meal, the supply of carbs available, where is the closest source of carbs and how long will it take to get there? How long to actually get those carbs into the system. Not being one of this exclusive club, imagine for a moment that in addition to everything that we do in life; imagine that on top of that, there’s this little demon inside waiting for the moment when he could literally KILL YOU! To combat the demon a small voice is developed, deep inside that constantly inquires about a number that would accurately represent, in milligrams/deciliter, the actual blood sugar reading of the system at that particular moment in time. Can it be done? If not for the absolute need for survival could anybody do that every minute of every day? Out of necessity, it is clear, it can be done and by literally millions of people. Each of those people has their own, additional, story. Stories that define, beyond superficial impressions, the meaning of balance, management and control. Control, Ha!

It is true, that a vast majority of people with diabetes are type 2. It is also true, that so much more needs to be done in every aspect of healthcare relating to diabetes. All cases of diabetes, diagnosed and un-diagnosed,  in the United States alone, are nearing 30 million people. It is also estimated that diabetes will increase by 64% in the next 10 years – http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/2014statisticsreport.html – The need in our society to think about what we eat on a daily basis is beyond epidemic proportions. One of the most depressing things about a Disney vacation is the physical state of our fellow citizens. Diabetes is telling us something. Diabetes, perhaps, is here to thin the heard. The herd is not listening. The truth is, diabetes, type one or type two, ignored or dismissed will kill you, one limb at a time, if you let it. For the lucky ones, a denied state of diabetes will take them out in one massive stroke at the ripe old age of 60 or less. To put a dollar amount on this? Nearing or surpassing $250 Billion annually and that’s just in this country. The irony is, of course, it does not have to be this way. There are things that can be done to avoid that.

Diabetes is hard. That much is true. The best thing that can be said about diabetes is that it teaches discipline, moderation and self-reliance. Especially for type ones. For a type one there is no choice. Care for the disease or die. It is clear. Type two people are presented, perhaps, with a little less urgency but it will kill them just the same. Type two people, more often than not, have been walking around in that condition for years before being properly diagnosed. Years of elevated blood sugar takes its toll on those tiny capillaries that supply blood and nutrients to the brain and extremities. Nothing in our system responds well to elevated levels of sugar. Of those 30 million people with diabetes previously mentioned, 8.1 million or 27.8% are walking around totally unaware that a demon is plotting their demise. These are real  people and they deserve some attention. These are not people to be vilified for eating too much or sitting on the couch too long. These are people who, at every turn, are urged to super-size. A 16 ounce serving of nutritionally empty soda is not enough. We are encouraged for 25 cents more, to get the 20 ounce size. These bigger and bigger portions are killing us. The cost to our society for ignoring this epidemic will certainly increase in dollars but more importantly, it will continue killing our families, our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves.

Diabetes is killing us. November is National Diabetes Awareness month. Donate a small amount  to a group helping people with diabetes in your community. There are people with diabetes in your community that can’t get the medication they need each and every day. Maybe you can help someone this November.

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