Diabetes: Why It’s a Big Deal
It’s a disease that affects almost one out of every 10 people and is the seventh leading cause of death in America. But even though diabetes is a scary condition that can lead to serious consequences, including blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, circulatory problems, loss of limbs or even death, it’s easy to assume it’s not that big of a deal.
Why the misperception? It stems from most people knowing at least one person who’s diabetic and living their life normally. Sure you see them check their blood sugar or give themselves an insulin injection every now and then, but it doesn’t seem that bad. That’s far from the whole story.
The daily routines you see are just a small part of living with diabetes. It’s a disease that affects many areas of the body and can lead to complications with your kidneys, feet, nerves, eyes, bones and joints. To put it into perspective, diabetes kills more people every year than breast cancer and AIDS combined, and two-thirds of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association.
And because diabetes requires monitoring all day, every day, managing the disease can take a toll on a person’s mental health. People who have diabetes have to learn to manage stress and other negative emotions because they have a higher risk for depression.
Knowing the seriousness of diabetes isn’t intended to be a source of fear. Instead, it’s meant to serve as a reminder for you to gain more knowledge about prevention and find out if you’re at risk. There are many factors that can raise your risk for Type 2 diabetes, including being overweight, inactivity, family history, age and high blood pressure. And many of those factors are under your control, meaning you can take steps to lower your risk of ever being diagnosed with this scary disease. Learn more about living with diabetes from the American Diabetes Association.
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