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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

diabetes awareness month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! During this month, we help raise awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage our patients and community to make healthy lifestyle changes. The NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) designated this year’s theme to focus on taking care of youth who have diabetes..

According to the CDC National Diabetes Report for 2020, 34.2 million Americans, or just over 1 in 10, have diabetes. Newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes have significantly increased among US youth under the age of 20.

Knowing the different types of diabetes can help you and your family manage or prevent this potentially life-threatening condition.


Prediabetes is a serious condition known to be the precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels show higher than normal but are not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults in the United States, or approximately 88 million adults, have prediabetes.

Among those who have prediabetes, about 90% are unaware of their condition.

Prediabetes goes undetected for years without showing any obvious symptoms. Your risk factors for prediabetes increase if you are:

  • Overweight
  • 45 years of age or older
  • Have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Have gestational diabetes – or diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs 
  • Physically active for less than three times a week
  • Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Genetics and ethnicity also play a role – African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at a higher risk of prediabetes.

Jeremie Young, MD

“Prediabetes is reversible with proper diet, exercise, and weight management,” says Dr. Jeremie Young, who is one of our doctors at Dopson Family Medical Center and Baker Rural Health Clinic. “During your wellness visit, we’ll discuss any risk factors you may have and may prescribe routine blood work to test your blood sugar.”

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone necessary for the body to process sugar and convert it into energy. This condition is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but can be diagnosed at any age. 

While the cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown there are risk factors that can increase your chance of developing it including a family history of the disease and genetics. Since some symptoms are similar to symptoms of other health conditions, it’s important to stay in regular contact with your doctor and have regular blood tests.

While this condition isn’t currently preventable, there are ways to manage type 1 diabetes following your doctor’s recommendations for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Type 2 diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, cells do not respond normally to insulin to use blood sugar as energy – this is known as insulin resistance. The pancreas eventually cannot keep up for the insulin demand which sets the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The most common risk factor for type 2 diabetes is obesity.

90-95% of the 30 million Americans who are diabetic have type 2 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes can be managed through a healthier lifestyle – following a healthier diet, being more physically active, managing your stress and getting enough sleep. Alternatively, your doctor may prescribe insulin medication to avoid complications and control your blood sugar.

Managing diabetes and living a healthy lifestyle

By managing blood sugar and other risk factors, individuals with diabetes may live a relatively normal lifestyle. Here are a few things you can do to either prevent or manage diabetes and prevent long-term complications:

  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Manage your stress 
  • Stop smoking 
  • Moderate your alcohol consumption
  • Get regular check-ups with your doctor

At Dopson Family Medical Center, we have a qualified team of providers who are committed to the health and well-being of our patients and community.

From L to R: Dr. Kyle Knabb, Dr. Mark Hardin, Dr. Kate Bennett, Kassie Shoup, APRN, and Dr. Suresh Patel.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Schedule your annual wellness visit with Dopson Family Medical Center’s Primary Care and Family Practice team by calling 904-259-7815.