What is today?

What is today? Thursday November 14th. Today is just another day, right? No real significance as we wake up and start our morning hurriedly scrambling to shower, make breakfast for the kids, get everyone dressed and ready for school as we go about our usual daily tasks. Looking back I never considered nor pondered the significance of this particular day. Generally we are thankful this time of year as Thanksgiving approaches and we gear up for the holiday season. There are two individuals that I am thankful for that you probably haven’t heard of or know. Their names are Fredrick Banting and Charles Best. Because of these two individuals and their actions ninety-one years ago I am here today along with ten million people just like me. Prior to 1922 my life expectancy, as well as my child’s, was only one to two years at best. Here is what Banting & Charles did for me and my child:
In 1920, Dr. Frederick Banting wanted to make a pancreatic extract, which he hoped would have anti-diabetic qualities. In 1921, at the University of Toronto, along with medical student Charles Best, they managed to make a pancreatic extract. Their method involved tying a string around the pancreas duct. The pancreas was examined several weeks later and the pancreatic digestive cells had died and been absorbed by the immune system. The process left behind thousands of islets. They isolated the extracts from the islet cells and produced isletin. Banting and Best managed to test this extract on dogs that had diabetes. In fact, they managed to keep a dog that had its pancreas taken out, alive throughout the whole summer by administering the extract which was insulin. The extract regulated the dog’s blood sugar levels and within two years a fourteen year old boy was responsive to the treatments which extended his life. (Medical News Today)

TODAY is World Diabetes Day which is acknowledged on November 14th of every year. As stated earlier I am thankful for these two men that set a course where all diabetics can now live a full, happy, and healthy life. I am thankful for the strides that have been made to deal with the daily grind of what can be a life threatening disease. At times diabetes is a disease that cannot be seen but it is felt every minute of every day. Over 25,000,000 people, in the U.S., have diabetes. Only 5% are type 1 diabetics which is when the body produces no insulin. Worldwide there are over 300,000,000 people who have this disease. Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death (CDC 2010). Below are a few interesting myths and facts about Diabetes from ADA/JDFR:

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: If you manage your diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay diabetes complications. However, diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.

Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone.

Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.
Fact: Fruit is a healthy food. It contains fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. Because fruits contain carbohydrates, they need to be included in your meal plan. An orange is the equivalent of drinking a regular soft drink

Myth: If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you’re failing to take care of your diabetes properly.
Fact: For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications. But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal. Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.


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