November 14 – Why is this day important?
This year Thanksgiving Day is on November 22. We all know that one, but there is another important day before that, November 14.
Quick quiz, November 14 is:
- Dia de los Muertos
- National Pizza Day
- U.S. Walk Your Dog Day
- World Diabetes Day
- International Floss Day
If you guessed e, you are WRONG! I like the way you are thinking though. It’s actually d, World Diabetes Day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year reported 30.3 million adult Americans have diabetes. That is about 1 in every 10 people. They also stated 84.1 million adult Americans have prediabetes. That is roughly 1 out of 3. Is it just me or are those startling and frightening statistics? I could only wish my chances of winning the lottery were that high.
Let’s do a super Cliff Notes version of diabetes. When we eat, our food is broken down into sugar that is then released into the bloodstream. The pancreas releases a hormone, insulin, that acts as a key to allow your body to use that sugar for energy. If you are diabetic, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use the insulin the way it should. When this happens there is too much sugar in the blood. Over time, this causes any number of serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease (the number one killer of Americans), kidney disease, vision loss, nerve damage in hands and feet, Alzheimer’s complications and periodontal disease just to name a few.
Yes, I just listed periodontal disease. The relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes is a two-way street. For diabetics, when blood sugar gets high, it makes it difficult to fight off any infection in the body, the mouth included. This leaves those with diabetes more susceptible to periodontal disease. Conversely, periodontal disease can raise blood sugar levels, making it very difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.
So back to Nov 14, World Diabetes Day. What can you do to raise awareness and help educate yourselves and your fellow humans? Maybe it’s something simple such as taking a walk with a friend or loved one that is diabetic. Perhaps you try a new recipe where you do a little swap and use stevia rather than sugar. Food Network has some diabetic-friendly options. https://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/diabetes-friendly You could go online and do your own diabetes risk assessment. Here is a basic one from the American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/ I think it goes without saying, this is a risk assessment. It is NOT a medical evaluation. The International Diabetes Federation has a Go Blue campaign. https://www.worlddiabetesday.org/resources/blue-circle-selfie-app.html You can take a selfie, put the blue circle where you want and post on social media to share the info. Maybe you wear blue. Who knows? There are all kinds of ways to raise diabetes awareness. Feel free to share your own inspiring ideas on our Facebook or Instagram pages. Most importantly, educate yourselves on diabetes and prevention. Happy World Diabetes Day!