Diabetes: Some of us are all too aware

 - 
11/02/2011

Yesterday, as I was writing this blog, I found myself wondering at my use of the word "awareness." What does it mean, exactly? I worried that it's tossed around all too frequently to cover, well, everything. Certainly we here at HME News use it frequently (sleep apnea awareness, awareness of the the value of home care).

Is "awareness" in and of itself, enough?

Then, this morning over breakfast (skim milk, soy sausage, reduced sugar oatmeal) I came across an article in my new issue of Diabetes Forecast (if you have diabetes of any flavor, become a member of the American Diabetes Association, NOW) that reassured me that, yes, awareness is important.

In the article, (which I neglected to bring to work with me), the writer (pretty sure he was a doc) mentioned health fairs that offer screenings for things like diabetes and high blood pressure ("health fairs" caught my eye, I just edited a story on health fairs for our December issue). Apparently, it's the fit and healthy-looking folks who are most aware of the importance of various screenings and show up, while the unfit carrying their "big, sugary drinks" walk on by.

And we know which of the two groups is more likely to have high BPs, Type 2 diabetes or sleep apnea, don't we?

So yes, during this month of diabetes awareness, it's important to ensure that at-risk folks are aware they are at risk, and aware of the symptoms; it's important for the diagnosed and their caregivers to be aware of ways to stay healthy, and to be aware of things like research, reimbursement cuts and legislative activity. It's important to be aware of when to step forward and write a check or speak up on behalf of diabetes awareness.

Of course, it's important to do this year-round, but if November gives you a push, so be it.

Theresa Flaherty

Type 1, 12.5 years