November is National Diabetes Month! World Diabetes Day – November 14 – also my birthday!

Did you know that November is National Diabetes Month? And that every year since 1991, the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization has pledged the date of November 14th as World Diabetes Day?

Well, this just happens to fall on my birthday – cool, right? Well, this date also reflects the birthday of a major scientist, Frederick Banting, who along with Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.

 Let’s start with some general facts about Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes accounts for about 90%- 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; Type 1 diabetes (also known as autoimmune or juvenile diabetes) accounts for about 5%. In this blog, we will be discussing Type 2 Diabetes – commonly referred to as adult onset diabetes.

While investigating the most recent statistics, I found some good news and some bad news. 

The good news…

1. After 20 years of continued increase in diagnosed new cases of Type 2 Diabetes, this number has declined by 35%- from a peak of 1.7 million new cases/year in 2008 to 1.3 million new cases/year in 2017. This encouraging news pointing to better education and interventions toward developing diabetes. 

2. Up to 70% of Type 2 Diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed by adopting healthier lifestyles. Yes, by making simple lifestyle choices, as discussed below, you can markedly reduce your risk, as well as that of your family members, of developing diabetes. 

The bad news…

1. The number of people with diabetes in low-and middle-income countries will continue to grow. By 2040, the number of people with diabetes in Africa is expected to double.

2. People diagnosed with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke compared to those without diabetes – and get it at an earlier age.

3. Smokers with diabetes are more likely to develop serious health conditions, such as heart and kidney disease.

4. In many countries, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation.

Another important point to mention for us women. If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes while you were pregnant, you have an increased risk of developing diabetes later in life.

The one factor that really excited me was the fact that diabetes can be reduced or prevented just by making simple lifestyle changes.  You have the power to keep yourself and your family healthy – just follow these 5 tips.  And remember, it’s never too late to start!! Be it at 40, 50, 60 or beyond!

5 Tips to Decrease Diabetes

1. Get more physical activity – helps with 

  • Weight loss

  • Lowering your blood sugar

  • Boosting your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range

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Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.  I suggest doing both cardiovascular/interval training as well as weight training.

2. Get plenty of fiber

  • Reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control.

  • Lower your risk of heart disease.

  • Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.

3. Go for whole grains.

Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.


4. Lose extra weight

If you’re overweight, diabetes prevention may depend on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight — around 7 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly, reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.

5. Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices

Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first. But their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn’t known.  Choose instead to use portion control and include a variety of foods to create your healthy-eating plan.


When to see your doctor 

If you’re older than age 45 and your weight is normal, ask your doctor if diabetes testing is appropriate for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if:

  • You’re age 45 or older and overweight.

  • You’re younger than age 45 and overweight, with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes — such as a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of diabetes.

Let’s celebrate November 14th as a team enhancing awareness of diabetes prevention day to make a real impact on your health, the health of your family, as well as that of the nation.  

Please share this information - It will be the best birthday present that I can receive from each of you!

In Health & Happiness,

Dr. Diana


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