Diabetes Month kicks off with frightening statistics

November is Diabetes Month, and with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation’s awareness campaign come some surprising statistics. A recent survey conducted on behalf of the JDF found that just half of the people surveyed believe that diabetes only poses a serious health risk, since it is controlled by insulin.

The fact is that diabetes and its complications kill more people each year than breast cancer, AIDS and lupus combined. Only 15 per cent of those surveyed ranked diabetes first on the list of life-threatening illnesses, behind breast cancer, which received 50 percent, and AIDS, which received just over one-quarter of the responses. The survey’s alarming results underline the point that Canadians (many of whom may suffer from diabetes and do not yet know it) need to understand the seriousness of the disease and the potential health threats it represents.

Only 42 percent of those surveyed were aware of diabetes risk factors, which include:

  • Being more than 20 per cent overweight
  • Having high blood sugar levels
  • Being over 45 years of age.
  • Being of Hispanic, African or Aboriginal origin.

Diabetes is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ buse approximately 750,000 of the 2.25 million Canadians who suffer from the disease don’t even know they have it. Most simply don’t recognize the symptoms, which include:

  • frequent urination
  • unusual thirst
  • change in appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • extreme fatigue
  • slow healing of cuts
  • sores or skin infections.

Any of these sound familiar? If they do, be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible, and help fight the “Silent Killer”.