Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels as a result of defects in the body's ability to produce or use insulin. In 2006, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death according to U.S. death certificates. In that year alone, over 72,500 people died with diabetes as an underlying cause.
There can be a variety of complications associated with diabetes of cardiac nature such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Diabetic retinopathy is not uncommon and causes vision impairment and in some cases, legal blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and in 2005, there were nearly 179,000 people with end-stage kidney disease either living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Over 60 percent of people with diabetes experience mild to severe nervous system damage known as neuropathy due to nervous system disease. Sixty percent of all non-traumatic lower extremity amputations occur in people with diabetes due to decreased wound healing and nerve damage.
These statistics illustrate the known fact that diabetes is not simply a condition but a disease with deadly consequences. Because of this realization, in 2009 the American Diabetes Association launched a national movement to Stop Diabetes. The goal was to raise awareness about the disease by gathering the support of millions of Americans to raise their hands to help confront, fight, and help stop diabetes. Perhaps you have already seen this year's new Stop Diabetes PSA with Bret Michaels. If you haven't, more than likely you will in coming weeks during American Diabetes Month. Nearly 24 million adults and children are worrying, testing, treating, and fighting the silent epidemic that is diabetes. Here are some ways you can join the movement this November.
Share - Enter the Share Your Vision to Stop Diabetes Video Contest by creating a 30-second video that demonstrates your commitment to changing the future of diabetes. Be sure to include the "stop" hand symbol, which is the sign of the movement. Submit your video between now and November 30, 2010 and you might win an Apple iPad.
Act - More than 814,000 people have joined the movement to Stop Diabetes including Bret Michaels. If you or someone you love is living and thriving with diabetes, act this November to show your support. A variety of corporate supporters are offering a variety of promotions to support the cause. Purchases will benefit ADA to help fund diabetes research, outreach programs and educational materials. If you have diabetes, perhaps you would like to put your support into action as a Red Strider. Many states have already had their walks for this year but it is never too early to start planning for 2011.
Learn - Learn more about diabetes to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Continue to develop healthy diet habits and a successful fitness program and working toward maintaining a healthy weight. Become familiar with symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and talk with your medical provider any time you notice new or concerning symptoms.
Give - It will not only take money but also time and effort by many committed people if we are going to stop diabetes. While funds will help research efforts, time and effort are just as important to provide education and to spread the word as a diabetes care advocate. If you or someone you know "lives to rock and rocks to live" the Bret Michaels Special Edition Bandanna might be for you. Perhaps the red paisley design bandanna with quote would be a great holiday gift while also supporting the Stop Diabetes cause.
The American Diabetes Association estimates a national cost to diagnose diabetes in the United States to be around $174 billion. The cost to care for someone with diabetes is $1 out of every $5 in total healthcare costs. The human costs are much higher. Take time this November to become more aware of the importance of diabetes prevention and control.
Do you or someone you know live with diabetes? What additional actions do you think could be taken to support them and help them thrive?
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