Think about a world in which no one speaks openly about their health challenges. There would be no education, no awareness, no medical breakthroughs — but millions of individuals dealing with medical issues with nowhere to turn. Fortunately, that's not the world in which we live. Today, those with diseases like diabetes have many places to go for help, and that's one reason why Diabetes Awareness Month is so important.
Each November, people across the country come together to rally around those impacted by diabetes. From in-person events and fundraisers to social media campaigns, Diabetes Awareness Month is all about shedding light on what it's like to live with diabetes, promoting healthy living, sharing research progress, and ensuring anyone with diabetes knows that they have support.
Diabetes statistics: Know the facts
From the number of people who have it to its economic burden, the data surrounding diabetes might seem grim — which is why spreading awareness and increasing education about the disease is key to creating better outcomes.
- More than 37 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. That's more than 10% of the U.S. population.
- Nearly 2 million Americans live with type 1 diabetes (a genetic condition that appears early in life), including 244,000 children and adolescents. While type 1 diabetes can't be prevented, ensuring those who have it can access healthcare and medications is critical to living a healthy life.
- 40% of people who died from COVID-19 were living with diabetes.
- Diabetes is the most expensive chronic condition in the U.S., with $1 out of every $4 U.S. healthcare dollars spent on caring for people with the disease, and the total economic cost of diabetes increased 60% between 2007 and 2017.
Type 1 vs. type 2 diabetes
There are two kinds of diabetes: type 1 (less common) and type 2 (more common). Here's how they're different:
- Type 1 diabetes might be caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin. This type of diabetes can be genetic, and it's not likely to be caused by diet or lifestyle.
- In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, and your body can't use energy from food properly. This type of diabetes can be caused by obesity, lack of exercise and genetics — and, in many cases, can be prevented.
National Diabetes Month activities
Whether you have diabetes or you're supporting a family member or friend with the disease, there are many ways to help raise diabetes awareness this November:
- Donate to an organization like the American Diabetes Association® or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
- Find a local event through your community or support group, or volunteer your time
- Get involved in American Diabetes Month® activities beginning November 1
- Post on social media using relevant hashtags like #diabetesawarenessmonth, #worlddiabetesday, #americandiabetesmonth and #forwardas1
- Participate in a World Diabetes Day activity on November 14
- Make positive changes to your diabetes management plan
- Share your story with JDRF (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get featured on their social channels
- Encourage your workplace or school to host a lunch & learn about diabetes
You can also simply take the time to talk to someone you know with diabetes — ask them how they're handling the disease, if they need any help managing it or finding resources, or what it's like to live with it every day. Showing that you care can make a huge difference.
United in hope for a better future
At Xeris Pharmaceuticals®, we're committed to finding ways to support the diabetes community. This year, we're donating diabetes products to more than 30 summer camps, donating more than 5,800 Gvoke® Pre-Filled Syringes (glucagon injection) to Americans, and sponsoring the ADA States of Diabetes event on November 11. This event will help raise the level of consciousness around health equity for millions of Americans with diabetes and pre-diabetes, and those at risk.
The diabetes community is relentless in its efforts to prevent diabetes, rally around those who have the disease, bring more innovative treatments to market — like Gvoke HypoPen® (glucagon injection), a two-step, premixed autoinjector for very low blood sugar — and eventually find a cure. There are scientists and researchers across the country who are hard at work finding breakthroughs, like the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, which is using stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes patients. Every effort, no matter how small, is paving the way for a brighter future for people living with diabetes.