Chances are, someone in your life or someone you know is living with diabetes. On a campus as large as the University of Connecticut, you’re bound to come across someone who has it. Next month is National Diabetes Month, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association and other medical organizations, and seeks to bring attention to diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make health changes in their lives. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is partnering with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute this year to focus on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease with the slogan “Taking diabetes to heart”.
Diabetes is a medical condition that results in too much glucose in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas does not produce enough or any insulin, which is needed to process the essential sugars from food. Type 2 is much more common, covering 95% of those living with diabetes, and affects the way the body processes blood sugar.
As one of the leading causes of disability and death in adults living with diabetes are “nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes,” according to the NIDDK. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that about 30 million, or one in every 10 Americans have diabetes, a good amount of them being college students. The CDC also reports that 4% of new diabetes diagnoses occur in the 18 to 44-year-old age group, including college-age students. In 2015, 193,000 people who were 20 years old or younger were diagnosed with diabetes.
Another 84 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes within the next five years, but can lower their risk if they make health changes to their life, which is what American Diabetes Month is trying to bring attention to. Some of these changes include incorporating more physical activity and exercise into one’s life, as well as making healthier diet choices.
Of course, many people are able to continue living fairly normal lives by controlling and regulating their diabetes, but sometimes managing it while attending college can be tough. UConn offers a bevy of resources for those living with or at risk of diabetes. The university’s chapter of the College Diabetes Network seeks to provide a support network and limit the negative physical and psychological effects that accompany diabetes, according to the organization’s description. They also seek to educate and advocate about diabetes.
The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) may make accommodations for students with diabetes, and UConn Student Health Services provides a variety of resources as well. For students with diabetes who require testing, the center offers free sharps containers and disposal, as well as professionals who can provide more information and consultation on adjusting to campus life while living with diabetes. UConn Health, the university’s associated medical center, offers a Diabetes Self-Management Education Program as a series of workshops focused on helping people understand the condition and learn to manage it. The program has been recognized by the ADA and meets national standards for self-management programs.
Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.