Diabetes Awareness Month happens each November and November 14th is officially recognized as World Diabetes Day because it is the birthdate of Sir Frederick Grant Banting, a Canadian medical scientist, physician and Nobel Laureate who discovered insulin almost 100 years ago.
Throughout the month, various groups are working to raise awareness of the many diabetes-related conditions, such as vision loss and heart disease. The color blue has been designated as the official color of diabetes awareness though I'm not sure why. The diabetes 'blue circle,' created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), may have played a role.
Much awareness for diabetes. This is a good thing.
But as my friend Sara pointed out, November is also a time for those living with this disease to be reminded that they are supported by others, countless people who live with diabetes just as they do. People who stand ready to help in any way possible.
Sara’s message was loud and clear. If you live with this disease, there's no need to 'go it' alone. Quality social media platforms such as #JDRF (the hastag for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an excellent resource for type 1 diabetes information) can be a terrific place to find support and connect with others who have learned to negotiate the hills and valleys in the diabetes mountain range. I have found the diabetes community to be a fabulously-caring group of people who ‘get it’ and are willing to share their experiences.
And I'm talking as a parent of two children with type 1 diabetes. The support I've found is not just between people with diabetes to other people with diabetes but parent to parent and beyond...
It feels good knowing you are not alone and to be aware of others in your situation.
It’s also a month to beware. If you do not have diabetes or if it's unknown to you—November is a time to do your part in helping to spread the word and educate the world around you about the warning signs of diabetes.
The stats tell us that over 29 million Americans have diabetes and almost 25% of those people do not know they have it. Sadly, there are also people with warning signs that physicians miss and parents who are not aware that their beloved child is at risk and should be seeking medical care either at the ER (depending on the situation) or be in the process of learning what they need to know to assist their loved one in managing the disease. As the National Institutes of Health Managing Diabetes campaign states, "It isn't easy but it's worth it". So much education must continue by those of us who schooled in diabetes because if not us, then who?
November is a great month to call up a club or fraternal organization or to call on an elected official and say, “Hi, this is Joe Jones and I am calling today because November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Can I come in to talk about the warning signs with your group and share my personal story about living with this disease? It will take only 10 minutes. I'm not asking for anything. I'm just trying to educate people about what diabetes looks like so they can be made aware."
The honest truth, you just may save someone’s life. I am quite sure that Dr. Banting would love that as a birthday present.
I am a DiabetesDad