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It’s American Diabetes Month Again

National Diabetes Month is an annual event held each November to boost awareness about the risk factors, symptoms, and types of diabetes and to increase education about how we can make lifestyle choices to help safeguard us from its effects. For those living with diabetes, November marks an opportunity to tell your story, to share with others what it’s really like to live with this disease, and to connect with others who can help you on your journey to living a healthier life.

This Year’s Focus is on Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in women who cannot make enough insulin and develop diabetes during pregnancy. Once a woman is diagnosed with this form of diabetes during pregnancy, she is at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes at some point later in her lifetime. You may also have a lifelong risk of diabetes if you give birth to a baby weighing over nine pounds. Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes. Managing gestational diabetes will help make sure you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

How to Observe National Diabetes Month

Commit to a new healthy habit for one month. Many lifestyle habits — not just eating and exercising — can affect your general health and your diabetes management. Rather than choose something you feel you “should” do, pick something you feel able and willing to do. Here are some ideas: 

  1. Get more sleep. Not getting enough sleep can increase insulin resistance, which can lead to higher blood glucose levels, and daytime tiredness can stop you from getting some life-saving exercise.
  2. Drink more water. Dehydration can make you feel tired and onset headaches because thirst is often mistaken for hunger, it can also cause you to eat more.
  3. Try some new fruits or veggies. Fruits and vegetables offer numerous nutrition benefits, including fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals, and also may help to keep those hunger pangs at bay.

Create a personal cookbook. There are restrictions on what people with diabetes can eat. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying tasty treats. Scour special cookbooks and websites designed for diabetics and experiment with recipes.

Assemble a “sick day” kit. It pays to be ready for those days when your diabetes or some other illness gets you down. Some of the items in your kit may include blood glucose monitoring supplies, ketone test strips, glucose tablets or gel, a thermometer, hand sanitizer, an alarm clock or timer to stay on top of your glucose levels, and soft tissues. It’s your list, so tailor it to your personal needs.

Learn something new about diabetes. Look up something you’ve been wondering about or browse through a website or book or magazine on diabetes until something catches your eye. Here are a few sources of diabetes information you might find interesting: the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).

Resources Available to You

The first step to effectively fighting diseases like diabetes is to make sure we understand them. At Galen, we have a top-notch endocrinology team fully dedicated to providing the best possible education and care for our diabetic patients. This team has a deep understanding of the disease and works collaboratively to ensure modern, comprehensive treatment for all patients. Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed or have lived with type 1 or type 2 diabetes for years, our compassionate staff will work to provide you with all the support you need.

During the month of November, for American Diabetes Month, our team seeks to shed much-needed light on this disease. We are proud to offer specialized diabetic treatment and education for the Chattanooga community at our Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, and we hope to serve as an ongoing resource for patients and their families.