According to the American Diabetes Association, more people die from this disease each year than from breast cancer and AIDS combined! The nearly 26 million Americans currently living with diabetes are also at increased risk for heart disease and stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation and even nerve damage.
Diabetes is divided into three types – type 1 and type 2, as well as gestational or pregnancy onset. Type 1 diabetes is usually found in children and young adults and is marked by the body’s inability to make insulin – i.e., the hormone responsible for converting sugar and starches from our food into the energy we need to lead healthy, active lifestyles. The vast majority of Americans who suffer from diabetes, however, have type 2, which means one of two things: 1) their bodies produce insulin but not enough, or 2) the cells in their bodies ignore this vital hormone.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that having diabetes is NOT an automatic death sentence. Although there is no cure for the disease, it can be managed through proper diet and exercise. Individuals living with type 1 diabetes also need insulin therapy to survive, whereas those with type 2 may or may not be placed on insulin or given other medications to help manage the disease.
For more information about diabetes, including effective treatment strategies, please visit the American Diabetes Association’s website or call 1-800-DIABETES.
Finally, I’m happy to announce that the American Diabetes Association has launched a new faith-based program called Live Empowered which is designed to assist churches with integrating diabetes awareness messages and life application principles into worship services. Also, in observance of American Diabetes Month, the American Diabetes Association is sponsoring Super Diabetes Sunday on November 13th. Super Diabetes Sundays will include materials and giveaways to help your congregation join the fight against diabetes. To learn more about Live Empowered or Super Diabetes Sunday, please contact Justin Thomas at JThomas@diabetes.org or 919-743-5400, ext. 3217.
- Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator