November 12, 2010

World Diabetes Day 2010

(This post was supposed to go up Wednesday, but I was too tired Tuesday and I drove home Wednesday!)

I bet most of ya'll don't know what this symbol is for (except maybe because it is in the title). It is a universal symbol for diabetes. Sunday, November 14 is World Diabetes Day 2010. (I know I'm a few days early but I want ya'll to be prepared.) Until recently this day wouldn't have meant much to me.

A little backstory. February 26, 2009, I was admitted to the hospy and quickly after diagnosed with type one diabetes. It was a life shocker. There is no family history. I still remember every little detail of those four days. (But this post wasn't about me.)

I have found most people don't know the difference unless they have been affected by the disease. Here is a short summary describing the differences:

Diabetes is a disease where the body does not produce insulin (type 1) or cannot utilize insulin (type 2). Type 1 is also commonly known as juvenile diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease and type 2 is related to diet and exercise. You may be wondering how I developed the disease after nearly twenty years without it. Good question. I would love to know too, as well as my doctors. There is so little known about the disease so all my doctors can do is guess what happened. They believe I contracted a virus (how long prior to being diagnosed it unsure) but the virus caused my body to self-destruct and slowly kill the beta cells of my pancreas. (The beta cells produce insulin; the alpha cells produce glucagon.)

Type 1 diabetes is controlled by the use of insulin injections and fingersticks. Diet has no affect. I would still have to take insulin if I ate a zero carbohydrate diet. (So please don't tell me I can't have that cupcake because my doctors encourage it in moderation.) People with type 2 diabetes often can control their glucose levels by improving and changing their diet as well as exercise. Some may take insulin or medication to decrease insulin resistance.

Back to World Diabetes Day 2010. It is led by International Diabetes Federation to promote advocacy and awareness. The theme is chosen every five years and currently the theme is Education and Prevention. The slogan for 2010 is 'Let's take control of diabetes. Now.' World Diabetes Day brings attention to a disease that affects millions of people (type 1 and 2) but so little is understood and there is no cure.

I am lucky to live an area where so much research and support occurs. The Diabetes Center of Excellence at Shands at the University of Florida (talk about a long name) is one of the top research facilities in the country. Every year they put on events in the month of November and a big celebration of November 14th, which includes lighting building blue. It is so neat to see and gives me the chills. On the University of Florida campus, Century Tower is lit blue.


After being lit blue!

Similar events occur across the nation and world. Take a few minutes this weekend and observe this event. Here is a list of events in the United States. It is so neat to see! Even if you can't attend an event, you can light a blue candle.

You can read more about World Diabetes Day here.

Tomorrow is a big day in SEC football. My Florida Gators will be playing the South Carolina Gamecocks to determine who will represent the SEC East at the SEC Championship game December 4th. Go Gators!!!


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