Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family and I wrote this post to help you understand this disease and how to support your loved ones that have it
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi to write about the realities of diabetes as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
As many of you know, I am truly passionate about regularly and candidly spreading awareness about important health issues, especially about topics that tend to have a social stigma attached to them. Last Spring, I partnered with Med-IQ, an accredited medical education company that provides exceptional educational resources for healthcare professionals, on their obesity awareness campaign. This year, I am just as excited to partner with Med-IQ again to help generate awareness about Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and help you better understand what causes this disease as well as treatment approaches that can help.
The primary reason that I wanted to partner with Med-IQ on their diabetes awareness campaign is because both my mom and my sister have Type 2 Diabetes and they both have challenges managing it. Over the years, I’ve seen both of them struggle with what types of healthy foods to eat as well as what medications are the most effective for controlling their blood sugar levels with the least amount of side effects. Needless to say, this disease is complex and challenging to manage.
Given that both females in my immediate family have diabetes, one of the main things that I wanted to understand while writing this post is what causes or contributes to T2D and how best to treat it. I was quite surprised to learn that having a family history is the most significant risk factor for getting T2D! Contrary to popular belief, being overweight and eating the wrong foods are NOT the primary causes of diabetes!
While doing my research for this post, I learned that more than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes and 1 in 5 of them don’t even know they have it! Diabetes is a silent disease and even if a patient doesn’t feel any symptoms, this disease can take its toll on their body and health. However, the good news is that T2D can be controlled by taking a proactive approach to your healthcare and getting an annual physical as well as paying close attention to your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels/numbers.
To further emphasize the importance of preventative healthcare, you might be surprised to learn that 68% of people find out that they have type 2 diabetes because of routine blood work at their doctor’s office, and on average there is up to a six year delay before people diagnosed with diabetes start treatment. This in turn means that during that time, the uncontrolled blood glucose could damage numerous organs in your body and people with poorly controlled blood glucose levels are at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Needless to say, T2D is a very serious but manageable chronic disorder and I wanted to share 5 important insights about Type 2 Diabetes that I hope you will find enlightening and useful:
- Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to genetics and therefore patients should not be blamed or feel ashamed about having this disorder or for needing to take medications to manage it
- Diabetes is a disease that is important to gain control of as early as possible because making small and immediate lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your quality of life and overall health
- Type 2 diabetes is a complex 365 days/year disease that requires a multi-layered approach to manage and treat it. Things that can help include a healthy diet, regular exercise, a support system, an involved healthcare team and medications
- There are many medications that can help patients manage and treat their T2D and one medication is rarely enough (FYI: most patients take 7 medications on average)
- Injectable Fixed-Ratio Combination Therapies is a new treatment approach for T2D that combines all diabetes medications into one daily shot in order to improve the patient’s quality of life and it can help a patient achieve their target blood sugar levels much more quickly. This in turn reduces the risk of damage to their internal organs and mitigates heart and kidney problems
As I look at these two beautiful women in these pictures, I am reminded that T2D doesn’t have anything to do with your age or your size and that you can’t see this disease just by looking at someone. I would love this post to serve as a reminder to encourage the people that you love to stay on top of their health, to make sure that they get annual physicals even if they ‘feel fine’ and also to make sure to let them know that you are available to listen and support them with their healthcare needs anytime!
One last thing that I would love your help with, Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with diabetes and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 6 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative. Take the survey HERE
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