World Diabetes Day and You: Keeping Yourself and Your Family Healthy

World Diabetes Day and You: Keeping Yourself and Your Family Healthy
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Diabetes is a widespread condition that can impact you and your family in many ways. It deserves recognition year-round, but if you are going to choose one part of the year to reflect, now is the time. November is National Diabetes Month, and November 14 marks World Diabetes Day. The ultimate goal is to reduce the impact of diabetes by increasing awareness of how to recognize, prevent, and manage this chronic condition that is so widespread that it is bound to affect everyone, whether directly or indirectly.

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National and International Recognition of Diabetes

National Diabetes Month is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its primary goal is to bring attention to diabetes, which affects 1 in 9 American adults and is a high risk for another third of adults. This year, the focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, since diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease and cardiovascular mortality among people with diabetes is twice as high. 

Diabetes is not just an American phenomenon, as 1 in 12, or over 425 million, adults are living with diabetes worldwide, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reports in its “Global Report on Diabetes.” Globally and in the U.S., the majority of cases, about 95%, are type 2 diabetes. On November 14, the WHO and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) sponsor World Diabetes Day to raise awareness of diabetes and try to reduce the impact of this chronic condition. 

Why Care about Diabetes?

Diabetes is no longer some irrelevant condition that your great-aunt used to have. Rather, it is something that can affect every part of life for you and your family. It can be expensive, with the costs of diabetes medications at $200 to $1,000 or more per month, plus testing strips adding an additional $100 more monthly. That can be $2,000 to $13,000 per year before discussing extra blood tests, check-ups for feet and eyes, and medical care related to diabetes, such as for heart disease, kidney disease, or hypertension. This can add several thousand dollars more to annual costs.

Diabetes is more than a financial or medical issue. These are some common realities of living with diabetes.

  • Checking blood sugar as many as several times daily.
  • Taking oral and/or injectable medications one or more times daily.
  • Constantly considering how foods will affect blood sugar or required medication dose or timing, and modifying which foods and how much to eat.
  • Exercising carefully, and being careful when jumping into family activities, to avoid hypoglycemia.
  • Following a special diet with certain foods and less flexibility regarding food choice and timing.
  • More frequent missed days of work and other events due to more infections and hyperglycemic days.

These may be serious, but there is good news, too. The thing is, type 2 diabetes is considered largely preventable! Furthermore, for those with type 2 diabetes, there is a lot you can do to reduce the impact on your daily life.

Protection through Prevention

That’s right! Whether you have prediabetes or are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, or you are living with diabetes, prevention is possible. 

How can you protect yourself and your family by staying as healthy as possible? Lark can help!

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Lark

What if there were a way to lower risk for diabetes by over 50% without taking any medications or being under intense scrutiny by a doctor? There is! The National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a lifestyle change program for people with prediabetes or are otherwise at high risk for type 2 diabetes. The program encourages:

  • Weight loss of 5 to 7% of original body weight (about 10 to 14 lb. if you weigh 200 lb.)
  • Achieving at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, bicycling, or group fitness classes.
  • Making healthy food and activity choices part of daily life.

How do you know which foods help lower blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity? Which activities are best, and how can you fit them into your schedule? How can you lose weight, sensibly, and keep it off? 

Lark DPP is a prediabetes lifestyle coaching app that is fully recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is always available on your smartphone to offer encouragement, tips, and advice. Lark helps you set goals and take small steps, that fit into your own lifestyle, to reduce type 2 diabetes risk and improve health overall. Preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes can be one of the best things you do not only for yourself, but also for your family.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes with Lark

Do you have type 2 diabetes? If so, your own decisions can largely determine your health outcomes and daily life. Healthy choices can lower the risk for long-term health issues due to complications and comorbidities. They can prevent costly and inconvenient trips to the emergency room by reducing the number of times you have hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic episodes (blood sugar is dangerously high or low). Good choices can reduce the need for medications and allow you to test blood sugar less often.

What are these good choices? Medication adherence is one, although many people do not take their medications as prescribed. Testing blood sugar as often as your doctor suggests may help you stay on track. Just as in prediabetes, losing extra pounds, increasing physical activity, and eating right can help manage blood sugar in diabetes.

Calculate Your Risk of Diabetes

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That may sound like a lot, but what if you had an all-in-one coach to help you with everything? Lark Diabetes Management is a smartphone app that coaches you in lifestyle changes to manage diabetes. The app syncs with blood glucose monitoring devices, reminds you to take medications, and helps you work on healthy weight loss, healthy eating, and increasing physical activity in an encouraging and responsive way.

Let this be your time to prevent or take charge of diabetes! This National Diabetes Month or World Diabetes Day, consider taking advantage of a digital, fully automated, infinitely scalable program for preventing diabetes or managing the condition. It is easy and quick to start offering Lark to your covered population, and the rewards may be visible soon.