World Diabetes Day rolls around every November 14th. Although this national holiday became official in 1991, the history of diabetes runs deep:
- “An ailment suspected to be diabetes was recognized by the Egyptians in manuscripts dating to approximately 1550 B.C. ~ Healthline.com
- “On 11 January 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old boy with diabetes… was given the first injection of insulin.”` Diabetes.org
- “In 1959, two distinct types of diabetes were identified when Solomon Berson and Rosalyn Sussman Yalow developed radioimmunoassay methods to measure insulin in the blood. They identified insulin-dependent (type 1) and non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes.”- ACC.org
- National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020
- “34.2 million Americans– just over 1 in 10– have diabetes.”
- “88 million American adults– approximately 1 in 3– have prediabetes.”
- “For adults diagnosed with diabetes: 15% were smokers, 89% were overweight, and 38% were physically inactive.”
Tips to Control and Prevent Diabetes
Given that diabetes made its first noteworthy presence in 1550 B.C., it’s heartbreaking to read the 2020 statistics. Although genetics play a role in diabetes, your lifestyle often plays a huge role as well. The Mayo Clinic preaches the following five tips to control and prevent diabetes:
- Get more physical activity
- Exercise aids in weight loss, lowering blood sugar, & boosting sensitivity to insulin.
- Get plenty of fiber
- Fiber can help you control your blood sugar, decrease your heart disease risk & help you feel full, which aids weight loss.
- Go for whole grains
- “It’s not clear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains.”
- Lose extra weight
- “If you’re overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss… Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight– around 7 percent of initial body weight– and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.”
- Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices
- “… by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients,” which results in craving the foods you want to avoid or limit.
Consequences of Diabetes
Dr. Nilma Malik penned an article entitled Little – Known Consequences of Diabetes. Toward the beginning of the piece, she says, “It is well known that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, and leg and foot amputations among adults.” But I argue that those consequences of diabetes are best understood by those diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic, not the general public. When someone doesn’t know diabetes knocks at their door, many simply think of diabetes as something involving insulin, sugar, and food restriction– that’s about it unless a loved one lives with diabetes.
Dr. Malik goes on in her article to list, what she believes, is unknown consequences of diabetes: hearing loss, cognitive decline, osteoporosis, diabetic myonecrosis (also known as ‘muscle death’), frozen shoulder, diabetic mastopathy (also known as ‘inflammation of the breast), recurrent respiratory infections, emphysematous (i.e., kidney tissue dying and the formation of gas from bacteria involved in the urinary tract or around the kidneys), skin infections, dental disease, and Mauriac syndrome. Between what Dr. Malik thinks is common knowledge about diabetes and the “little-known consequences of diabetes” that she brings to light, she delivers a powerful argument for why diabetes deserves the world’s attention and respect.
There are things out of one’s control, like genetics, and things within their control, like lifestyle. When the things one can control (lifestyle) have the potential to give the things you can’t control (genetics) a swift uppercut, start placing the odds in your favor one healthy habit and choice at a time.
Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach