Learn more about diabetes this October
What: Diabetes is quickly becoming one of the biggest health problems in the U.S., and the chronic disease is expected to only become more prevalent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. However, this threefold increase can be stopped if more Americans take simple steps to prevent the most common form of the disease, Type 2, which can often be avoided with healthy diet and exercise. With more than 79 million pre-diabetics in the U.S. today, prevention is key to reducing the prevalence of this expensive, painful and deadly disease. This November, encourage diabetic Americans to take control of their disease and help prevent new cases during American Diabetes Month.
Background: The American Diabetes Association started American Diabetes Week in 1948. The week would evolve into the monthlong event celebrated today. The month aims to prevent diabetes in all populations, while educating those with the disease how to better manage and monitor it. The Association also works to find a cure for diabetes. This year, each week of American Diabetes Month focuses on a different way to prevent and overcome diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic, non-curable disease that arises when a person has high blood sugar, often caused when the body does not produce enough insulin hormone or when cells stop responding to insulin. Type 1 diabetes, which often arises in younger people, is caused when the body does not create enough insulin, and it’s treated by daily injections of the hormone. The most common diabetes, Type 2, usually begins in adulthood and stems from insulin resistance, a condition where insulin is still being produced but is less effective at lowering blood sugar levels. These two types are the most prevalent form of the disease, though they can be controlled with injectable insulin, medication and a healthy lifestyle. While the discovery of insulin in 1922 made the deadly disease manageable, debilitating diabetes-related effects like blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and pregnancy complications can cause additional suffering for diabetics.
Story Pitch: Since insulin delivery and blood sugar monitoring are vital to managing diabetes, medical supply manufacturers can use the month to better educate diabetes sufferers and doctors alike on how to use medical technologies to cope with the disease. Health organizations, hospitals and general practitioners can help increase diabetes detection with screenings and provide information on how those with pre-diabetes can keep from developing the disease. Manufacturers of healthy foods and low-sugar products can use the month to promote their diabetic-friendly offerings. Since diabetes can cause nerve and blood circulation problems, people with the disease are at an especially increased risk of foot problems, which can lead to amputation. This month is an important time for foot care product manufacturers and specialists to discuss how to properly care for feet, how to protect them from injury, and what common foot problems can pose a major danger for diabetic people.
Story Hook: Diabetes is one of the biggest health care costs in the U.S., totaling more than $174 billion a year. The best way to lower this huge cost is through prevention. New health care regulations like the Affordable Care Act aim to increase early care and screening to decrease the toll preventative diseases take on Americans. How will these regulations affect those currently struggling with diabetes? What kind of health care costs does a diabetic person face? How does catching the disease early help improve lives and lower costs? Consider the following when you make your pitch:
- Who is at an increased risk of diabetes? Can it be hereditary? Do the risk factors change for different types of diabetes?
- How do doctors screen for diabetes?
- What complications are associated with diabetes? How can those with diabetes lower their risks?
- What is the biggest hindrance in screening for or managing diabetes?
- Does new research suggest there could be a cure for diabetes?
Tips: A diabetes specialist, such as an endocrinologist or medical researcher, is a good contact who can talk about how to detect and manage the disease. Additionally, a nutrition or fitness expert can discuss ways to prevent diabetes and why diet and exercise can make such a difference in avoiding the disease.
American Diabetes Association
Diabetes Public Health Resource
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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