Nov 14, 2022

3 things to know about living with diabetes

Living with diabetes is challenging but doable

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time when communities across the United States team up to bring attention to diabetes. 

Diabetes impacts over 500 million people around the world — that’s roughly one in 10 adults. That means you probably know someone affected by this disease.

Diabetes is a condition in the body where blood sugar levels are higher than normal. This can happen when the body either doesn’t make any insulin (type 1 diabetes), or the insulin that the body makes doesn’t work well (type 2 diabetes).

But there’s a lot more to know about this condition, which is expected to increase by 51% in the next two decades. We consulted the diabetes team at Medtronic to help break it all down.

1. It’s a balancing act

Medtronic Diabetes Medical Director Jennifer McVean, M.D., has described living with diabetes as climbing a mountain with a boulder on your back.

“I had no idea you could simply put your head on the pillow at night and fall asleep and wake up rested the next morning,” she said on a MedtronicTalks podcast episode. “I've lived with type 1 diabetes for 29.5 years before I had a peaceful night of sleep.”

This daily challenge is commonly described by people living with diabetes as a balancing act. It’s also a public-health crisis. Diabetes-related health and economic burdens disproportionately impact low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In fact, 70% of all deaths in LMICs are due to noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes.

Medtronic LABS, an independent Medtronic-funded nonprofit organization, is working to accelerate healthcare access for people in underserved communities. Since launching in 2013, LABS has reached more than 1 million people with hypertension and diabetes.

2. It’s more than physical

The burden of managing blood sugar, remembering medications, and constantly making decisions can take a toll on mental health. People living with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression than those who are not.

In addition to talking with your healthcare providers about your feelings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some tips on prioritizing mental health when living with diabetes.

3. You are not alone

Jaime Cline, a senior product support supervisor at Medtronic was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 3 years old.

“I have never let diabetes stop me from living a life full of adventure, travel, and joy-filled experiences,” she said.

For her, a big part of that is surrounding herself with friends and family who are familiar with diabetes.

Living with diabetes is challenging, but doable. Medtronic Diabetes offers a variety of community resources, including opportunities to connect with others living with diabetes.

Hear from Medtronic CFO Karen Parkhill below on what it’s like to live this balancing act and participate in the #BlueBalloonChallenge on social media. For every post through Nov. 30, 2022, Medtronic is donating to Life for a Child, a nonprofit that provides children in underresourced countries with insulin, supplies, and diabetes education.

This article is not healthcare advice. Everyone’s diabetes journey is unique. If you have questions or concerns about living with diabetes, please discuss them with your doctor.

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