November is National Diabetes Month. According to the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE), “National Diabetes Month is observed every November so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.” So, as a company which offers help for diabetes patients by way of patient assistance program services, it is our duty to spread awareness about these conditions and how patients can have access to helpful resources to live a higher quality life.
What is Diabetes?
When food is digested, the body turns nutrients into glucose, which is otherwise referred to as sugar. While this is the main way our bodies produce energy for us to run off of, when glucose levels in the blood are too high, the body can develop a number of conditions. Individuals diagnosed with diabetes don’t produce enough insulin. Insulin is what’s responsible for converting glucose, or sugar, in the blood into energy.
What Causes Diabetes?
There are a number of ways that diabetes can occur. For some, it’s because the immune system, for some reason, attacks insulin cells. For others, it’s because the body doesn’t make enough insulin. While we know that these factors are the reasons for diabetes, we don’t know what causes the body to stop making insulin or attack insulin cells. This is because there is no one type of diabetes that matches every suspected cause. Another thing we know is that family history, genetics, past health issues, ethnicity, and environmental elements.
Types of Diabetes
Just as there may be many different causes for diabetes, there are also a number of types of diabetes. While the direct cause of diabetes may differ or be unknown, we do characterize types of diabetes by how diabetes occurs. Or, whether the body isn’t making enough insulin or immune cells are attacking insulin cells. The different types of diabetes include:
Type I: This type of diabetes is the most severe. It’s characterized by how it occurs. With this type of diabetes, the immune cells actually destroy cells within the pancreas responsible for producing insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels. Patients diagnosed with this condition report causes of type one diabetes like contracting a viral infection, consuming toxins through food, or an unknown cause for the immune system to react adversely.
Type II: Patients diagnosed with type II diabetes have bodies that don’t make enough insulin naturally. Most patients report having this type of diabetes within their family history. So, it’s believed that genetics and family history may play a role in the development of this specific type of diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes: Pregnant women are only diagnosed with this type of diabetes. In fact, gestation is another word for pregnancy. It’s unknown why this happens to some women. But, most of the time, blood sugar levels go back to normal after the baby is born. However, experiencing gestational diabetes puts a woman at an increased risk for developing type II diabetes sometime in the future. Women with larger babies, who are overweight themselves, or have had a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome may be at a higher risk for this type of diabetes.
National Diabetes Statistics
When we look at how Americans are affected by diabetes and view national diabetes statistics, it’s obvious as to why there should be more awareness and help for patients diagnosed. It’s a growing issue and one which needs addressing so that millions of people can live longer lives. Some national diabetes statistics provided by the American Diabetes Association include:
- In 2015 alone, over 9% of Americans were reported to be diagnosed with a type of diabetes.
- Over 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with a type of diabetes with each new year.
- Diabetes is and has been the 7th leading cause of death for Americans.
Treatment for Diabetes and Help for Diabetes Patients
Fortunately, there is treatment for all types of diabetes so that blood sugar levels are managed and individuals can live a relatively normal life. But, these medications, like insulin, are expensive. Especially if individuals don’t have prescription insurance or mass amounts of money in the bank. That’s why spreading awareness for prescription assistance programs is important. These programs help individuals who have diabetes medications afford them through discounts or even complete coverage. However, they’re meant specifically for those who need them most. To find out if you qualify for patient assistance programs, please visit our website or give us a call today at 877-596-1604.