National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a month for individuals and health care professionals to raise awareness about diabetes. Although diabetes is an extremely common condition, there is still a lot of misinformation surrounding it.  Diabetes is a serious condition, but many individuals seem to be unaware of what it is, who is at risk, and the comorbidities that can result from this disease1.

Recently, the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report was released and it unveiled some startling figures about the current state of diabetes in America2. Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, with the majority being type 2 diabetic (90-95%). That means that nearly 10% of our population is diabetic. Given that many health care professionals agree that type 2 diabetes is highly preventable, this is an upsetting statistic.

Even more shocking were the findings about pre-diabetes. Currently, approximately 84 million people in the United States are pre-diabetic, and roughly 90% of these individuals have no idea of their status. That means 1 in every 3 Americans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a costly problem. In 2012, the total cost of health care spending for diabetes in America was about $245 billion. Assuming the trend continues, that amount will only increase. The CDC warns that, without intervention, 1 in 3 Americans will have Type 2 diabetes within 30 years3.

As a health care professional, you are aware of how serious a condition diabetes can be on an individual’s health.  Patients are at an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, strokes, amputations, and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

The largest roadblock for many of these at-risk people is education and understanding. Many people know that they have to make healthier life choices to prevent diabetes (or maintain it), but they are unsure what that means. Things that seem like smart, healthy choices may not be so obvious to everyone.

A community pharmacy is a great resource for anyone who is pre-diabetic, diabetic, and their family members. You are able to guide your patients on how to eat healthier and become more active. Additionally, you are able to provide knowledge on what diabetes truly is, and how it affects the body, so that your community members are better equipped to manage their condition. Celebrate National Diabetes Month – use your expertise and help inform your community about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For more information about National Diabetes Month and how to help your patients, visit the CDC website.

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