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November is For the Sweet! Diabetes Awareness Month

Nurses Article   (1,006 Views 0 Replies 739 Words)

Brenda F. Johnson has 25 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing.

5 Followers; 73 Articles; 104,534 Visitors; 251 Posts

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November is for the sweet people. Some have type 1, others type 2, and still others are gestational, but all are recognized this month. Some of the things the American Diabetes Association is championing are lower cost for insulin, more research and increased awareness.

November is For the Sweet! Diabetes Awareness Month

In the past few years, there have been great strides in improved medication and insulin for the treatment of diabetes. November is the month that diabetes is highlighted to bring awareness to the chronic disease that affects so many Americans. Sometimes, the actions that need to take place are in the political arena. On the American Diabetes Association website, they ask people in states with issues to support legislation that will help people with diabetes. One plea comes from California where low-income families cannot get their monitors covered; Medicaid does not cover this item in California.

There are victories noted regarding diabetes research such as Congress renewing federal funding. There are opportunities to get involved at all levels: local, state, and federal, which is what the ADA is hoping for by increasing awareness.

American Diabetes Association - Take Action

As nurses, we see patients who have been ravaged by diabetes. Those who have lost limbs, eyesight, and have serious heart and kidney issues and suffer on a daily basis. We see the struggle that these patients deal with in trying to control their daily sugar levels. Young children and their parents who deal with insulin control have a whole other set of worries. Keeping young children compliant can be difficult and can result in anger or depression in the child. Diabetes is one of the leading diseases in America, and the fight for these patients never stops.

The ADA website talks about some myths associated with diabetes. The first myth is the common belief that overweight people will get diabetes. Being overweight is certainly a risk factor, but there are other factors involved. Genetics play a role in who will most likely get diabetes. Those with a strong family history are at risk for developing diabetes and should get tested regularly as well as practice healthy behaviors that will decrease their risk. Ethnicity also will determine who will get diabetes. Those who are African American, American Indians, American Mexicans, and Asians are at a higher risk. And let's not forget age, as we get older, our risk gets higher.

Can eating too much sugar cause you to develop diabetes? Actually, no. Eating a lot of sugar can make you gain weight, which puts you at higher risk, but genetics and the other factors listed previously predispose one to diabetes.

Another misconception is that when the doctor puts a patient on insulin, that means that the patient is not doing a good job at controlling their disease. Over time, a person's body produces less insulin and that requires them to be put on insulin. The insulin will help them keep their sugars at a good level and therefore decrease complications, making insulin a good option for these patients.

There is an advocacy group called "Beyond Type 1" that is supported by people who have diabetes, (some are famous) to help educate and support those with type 1 diabetes. They offer suggestions for this month to spread awareness. Their goal is to educate people about diabetes and eradicate ignorance and misconceptions. They encourage the use of social media and taking diabetes awareness into the classroom to help support children with diabetes, giving them encouragement and positiveness in their day.

Some of us have encountered the patient who is okay with having a 300 fasting blood sugar. As nurses, we must keep educating these patients and their families. Being truthful in the reality of their situation is showing that we care about them and their future. For others, the cost of insulin or supplies can be a barrier to compliance. That is where our involvement in our local government can help these patients.

We as nurses are the largest body of educators, and we have the power to change our communities. Encourage your patients to exercise, eat healthy, and check their sugars often. They are empowered, as are we, when they take control of their own bodies. There are many nurses out there with diabetes, and we are the ones who really can put reality into practice for our patients. Each time we teach, we are putting another brick in the foundation of their knowledge and understanding of their disease.

Celebrate Diabetes Awareness this month and share your stories with your community here in allnurses!

5 Followers; 73 Articles; 104,534 Visitors; 251 Posts

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