ANN ARBOR — November is National Diabetes Month. Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans and an estimated 79 million people are at risk for developing the disease. In Michigan alone, an estimated 10 percent of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes — more than 758,000. An additional 250,200 Michigan adults are thought to have diabetes but are currently undiagnosed. For people living with diabetes or at risk for type 2 diabetes, family support is critical to staying healthy.
In recognition of National Diabetes Month 2013, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan has partnered with the National Diabetes Education Program to let people know that Diabetes is a family affair. During the month of November, the foundation is encouraging families, individuals, and communities to take action and implement simple but important lifestyle changes to improve their health—particularly if they have diabetes or are at risk for the disease.
Diabetes is a challenging disease that affects the entire family in many ways. For people with diabetes and their families, it’s important to work together to manage diabetes and prevent serious health problems such as kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, blindness, and nerve damage that can lead to amputation. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, causing more than 40 percent of all kidney failure cases. The good news is type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed, and when diabetes is managed properly, many serious health complications can be avoided. People with diabetes who have a strong family support system are better able to cope with the day-to-day challenges associated with the disease.
“Whether family means loved ones at home, school, work, place of worship, or in the community, having a support system is an important part of staying healthy,” says Art Franke, senior VP and chief science officer at the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. “Proper diabetes management is critical in preventing kidney failure. By involving your family in your daily health needs, both managing and preventing diabetes can be a little bit easier.”
It’s also important to know that having a family history of diabetes, such as a mother, father, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes, puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. You and your family can take small but important steps to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
For local community resources and events in observance of National Diabetes Month, or more information about diabetes management and prevention, please visit nkfm.org or call 800-482-1455. You can also check out the National Diabetes Education Program at YourDiabetesInfo.org/DiabetesMonth2013 for additional information.