Every November is dedicated to diabetes awareness, which brings attention to the chronic disease and the millions of Americans who are impacted by it. Diabetes is a growing epidemic in the United States with 29 million people currently diagnosed with the disease and another 86 million estimated to have prediabetes, which means they are at risk of developing diabetes.
Every National Diabetes Month has a new theme, and this year, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) settled on This Is Diabetes. The purpose of this year’s theme is to encourage people affected by diabetes to share their stories about what it means to live with diabetes.
“Too often, diabetes goes unnoticed in our society, but it’s a health care crisis that needs and deserves all of our attention,” Kevin L. Hagan, CEO of the ADA, said in a statement. “Through this year’s theme, This Is Diabetes, we want to bring more attention to this disease that affects our family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues and show how important it is to take urgent action to address diabetes and its devastating complications.”
The campaign is also highlighting the stories of 6 individuals affected by diabetes, including an entrepreneur trying to juggle her hectic career and manage her diabetes, man who cares for his elderly mother with type 2 diabetes, and a woman who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 2 decades and spent 10 years looking for a physician who would help her have a healthy pregnancy.
While November is observed as National Diabetes Month in America, the disease is also recognized worldwide with World Diabetes Day, which falls on November 14 every year. This year’s theme had been Eyes on Diabetes, which focused on improving early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and reducing the risk of severe complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to vision impairment and blindness.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, it is estimated that 1 in 10 adults worldwide will have diabetes by 2040. Currently, half of people with diabetes don’t know they have it, which makes the particularly susceptible to complications that arise from having untreated diabetes. In many countries, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputation.