Every year, November is Diabetes Awareness Month. November 14th is the official World Diabetes Day, in honor of Frederick Banting’s, the man who discovered insulin, birthday. Previously, this was just another day for another cause to me. However, early in October I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Suddenly, “just another cause” has become my cause. As a healthy, 21 year-old, you can imagine my shock and disappointment that my life would drastically change from the one I was used to. According to the International Diabetes Federation, it is projected that in 2035, almost 600 million people will be living with diabetes classifying it as an epidemic.1 In the United States alone, diabetes is on the rise with almost 30 million living with Type 2 and 1.25 million with Type 1. The majority of people diagnosed with Type 1, are diagnosed at a young age when the pancreas begins produces little to insulin. While the factors that cause this are still under investigation, there are many ways to help decrease the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.
For those who do not have diabetes and are not at risk, be aware of what you think and say about the disease. When I first began telling people about my diagnosis, some replied “but you’re not overweight.” One person even said, “Guess you had a few too many candy bars.” Before saying these things, think about it and research the illness. People with Type 1 are at no fault for their illness, as it is an auto immune disease. Also, in Type 2, the body either does not accept insulin that is made or does not make enough. Additionally, those living with diabetes have to live a much different life than everyone else. Adding to the stigma around the illness has no positive impact. Change the idea of what you think a person with diabetes looks like because there is no cookie-cutter image.
Although it has been a big life chance, I was extremely lucky with the amount of support from my friends and family who even offered to eat like me while I was in the adjustment period. However, since cutting out almost all sugar and eating a low carb diet, I have felt less stressed, more active, and overall, just happier. With World Diabetes Day coming up, go online and see what events are happening around you and support those effected by the illness. Even if it is just changing your views on the disease or eating a healthy meal that day, everything helps! Happy Diabetes Awareness Month and Roll Tide!
- International Diabetes Federation: http://www.idf.org/