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November is National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month

October 30, 2014

National Diabetes Month


November is National Diabetes Month. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.

Diabetes can cause serious health complications which include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart disease
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Lower-extremity amputations

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Some people with diabetes may exhibit the following symptoms.

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual
  • Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may accompany some of these symptoms in the abrupt onset of insulin-dependent diabetes, now called type 1 diabetes.

What are the types of diabetes?

  • Type 1 diabetes, which was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, may account for about 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only pregnant women get. If not treated, it can cause problems for mothers and babies. Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 10% of all pregnancies but usually disappears when a pregnancy is over.
  • Other specific types of diabetes resulting from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses may account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

If you suspect that you or a family member may have diabetes, please consult with your primary physician to discuss your concerns and symptoms. Prevention and early detection are key, so the Benefit Funds encourages each and every one of our participants to be proactive with their health. That means getting your annual physical exams, eating properly, exercising, and being compliant with any medications that you may be taking.

If you have any questions regarding preventive care or locating participating providers for diabetic supplies, please call Empire BlueCross BlueShield at (800) 553-9603. 

For additional information regarding diabetes, please check out the following links: